Water Wizard (Marvel Comics)

Water Wizard

(Peter van Zante) (Profile #1)

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


Water Wizard is a Marvel Comics jobber  villain, though he has an interesting power. He first appeared in 1977, and mostly fought Ghost Rider.

His later career as Aqueduct is covered in another profile, for clarity’s sake.


  • Real Name: Peter van Zante.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former US Army soldier, former Justin Hammer retainer.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 210 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Red


Powers & Abilities

Van Zante can mentally manipulate and animate liquids at a range.

He also has military experience and seems to be a fairly strong and athletic guy. However, he’s not a hardened fighter and is prompt to flee when outmatched.

Water animates

The signature use of his power is to turn a volume of water into a humanoid watery monster escorting him and obeying his orders. Water monsters are extremely strong, and can easily punch through walls or rip open a small safe. However, they are not truly liquid anymore, and superhumanly powerful punches and other such attacks can disrupt their integrity.

While he has an animation active the Water Wizard must concentrate to maintain it, and must give it spoken orders. This means that van Zante is unable to do anything more significant than walking and talking while he has a watery servant active. Curiously, when animating oil, he could have several creatures active at once. Furthermore, these could somehow shoot energy blasts.

Water monsters are highly susceptible to flame. The Ghost Rider could quickly reduce them to steam using hellfire once he got the hang of it.


Other applications

Other manifestations of the Water Wizard’s power have included :

  • Turning the liquid in water sprinklers into tentacles to snare multiple persons – or creating grabbing arms and hands from a waterfall (in DC Heroes RPG terms, Force Manipulation).
  • Giant hands, giant fists, giant axes, etc. or simple masses of crashing water to attack superhuman opponents. These water constructs are fairly similar to simple versions of Green Lantern constructs, only liquid rather than energy-based (Force Manipulation).
    Creating those requires a nearby fountain or pool, and it is possible for the water to be too dispersed after it is used (especially if it is heated into steam).
  • A minor variant is to form water monsters, often snakes, instead of axes of fists. But in effect it remains a straightforward attack.
  • The Water Wizard is stated to have recovered the Enforcer’s disintegration ring after it was lost at sea. A possible explanation is that a water animation can be given fairly sophisticated orders such as “find a ring like this one on the ocean floor”. This hypothesis also implies that animations can swim quickly enough to search a large area.
  • Creating a sort of jetski/scooter out of seawater to ride for a pretty long distance.

That’s about it. The Water Wizard isn’t terribly imaginative and doesn’t think well under pressure.


Peter van Zante was serving in the US Army during the Việt Nam invasion, presumably circa 1970. During a firefight, he was caught in the explosion of a rocket. Fellow American soldiers reached him in time, but van Zante was badly wounded. They had a helicopter rush him to a hospital ship, as it was his only chance to receive surgery in time.

Water Wizard (Peter van Zante) summons a water golem

A typhoon was brewing, and the helicopter made it to the ship just in time. However, the typhoon was rocking the ship too hard for surgery. The doctors had to resort to an experimental “cells-stimulating ray” to keep their patient stable during the storm.


The plan was working until the ship was hit by several huge lightning bolts, overloading the ray. Somehow, this healed van Zante, who made a full recovery. The doctors couldn’t detect anything odd about the patient’s physiology. However, the discharged van Zante soon discovered that he could now mentally animate water.

Water Wizard (Peter van Zante) (Marvel Comics) giant watery fist Captain America

Van Zante hid his abilities until 1977, as he was afraid of being treated like a freak. However in unchronicled circumstances he met a criminal called Mole. Mole convinced him to use his powers for crime and profit. It was presumably Mole who designed the Water Wizard costume and identity.

Soon, a nervous Water Wizard attacked a large brokerage firm in Los Angeles, and walked away with a vast sum in bonds and securities.

Hellfire ! (part 1)

After this first crime, the Water Wizard was enthusiastic. He was soon contacted by the Enforcer (Charles Delazny, Jr.) who offered a million dollars for the death of stunt cyclist Johnny Blaze. Van Zante took the contract.

Water Wizard (Peter van Zante) robs a bank

The first attempt to kill Blaze took place whilst shooting a movie, as Blaze was riding a motorbike through a waterfall. Van Zante would easily have killed the stuntman, but Blaze turned into the Ghost Rider in the nick of time.

Correctly assuming it was a scheme by the Enforcer, the Rider soon left for the mansion of Charles Delazny. The Rider knew that Delazny had some connection with the Enforcer.

The Water Wizard was also there and ambushed him. But before being knocked out by the content of a swimming pool launched at him, the Rider hit him with a blast of hellfire. Horrified by the supernatural attack, van Zante panicked and ran. He took hours to regain his composure.

Hellfire ! (part 2)

The Enforcer stepped in and brought Water Wizard to his secret base after seemingly killing Blaze. However, Blaze again had survived by turning into the Ghost Rider, and came after the Enforcer. Not wanting to be hit by hellfire again van Zante began to flee.

At that point van Zante spotted a broken water pipe he decided to fight to impress the Enforcer and have him recruit him. He stood and fought. With the flow from the pipe, the Water Wizard could recreate his water monsters as soon as soon as the Ghost Rider would vaporise one.

However, van Zante was taken out when the Rider rushed him.

Hammer time

The Water Wizard was presumably arrested – but the mastermind Justin Hammer paid for van Zante’s bail and had him join his roster of minor super-criminals. The Wizard was thus present in 1979 when Iron Man (Tony Stark) vengefully confronted Hammer’s men on a floating estate.

Seeing that he and his colleagues were almost all outclassed by the Golden Avenger, the Water Wizard unabashedly fled right in front of Justin Hammer.

Water Wizard (Peter van Zante) jumps over a wall

According to secondary sources , the Water Wizard returned to Los Angeles and to his life of crime. There, he eventually tired of Mole taking his cut and parted ways with him. However, van Zante then had to leave L.A. as the heat got too much. That may have been because he lacked Mole’s criminal acumen.

Having burned his bridges with Hammer also probably didn’t help. Furthermore, later dialogue gives the impression that the Wizard was scared of the California-based Ghost Rider.

Van Zante thus established himself in Chicago. But in 1981 the Rider came to Chicago. The Water Wizard attempted to be the big man and confronted the Rider after the infernal motorcyclist dispersed a group of police. That didn’t work at all, and the Rider sent Water Wizard packing.

Sorcery !

The Water Wizard was then contacted by Moondark. This sorcerer wanted him to act as his agent to gain revenge against the Ghost Rider. Van Zante agreed to the deal. However, though he was supposed to wait for midnight he spotted Johnny Blaze riding in Chicago about two hours before that.

He decided to attack while Blaze was vulnerable, but the biker simply turned into the Ghost Rider. The Water Wizard exhausted himself by creating two animations simultaneously to no avail. This forced him to flee.

Water Wizard (Peter van Zante) vs. the Ghost Rider

On midnight, Van Zante came back to implement Moondark’s plan. The water animation he made from the ocean to attack the Ghost Rider was demonically enhanced by Moondark, displaying much greater mass and strength. Furthermore, it was immune to the hellfire that usually vaporised Van Zante’s creations.

The water demon might very well have killed the Rider. But the Water Wizard’s egotistical bragging angered Moondark, who showed up to tell the the Ghost Rider that it was him, not van Zante, who was destroying him. The Ghost Rider blasted Moondark and forcing him to flee, stripping away the water animation’s enchantments.

Soul burned

The berserk animation attacked the Water Wizard, but the Rider destroyed it then blasted van Zante with hellfire as punishment.

Traumatised by the hellfire, the screaming Water Wizard had to be held in a sanatorium for several weeks as he recovered. To his horror, the Rider then came after him and abducted him, carrying him to Indiana. The Rider was actually doing Johnny Blaze’s bidding, as Blaze wanted Van Zante to use his powers for good for once and end a drought in a rural burg.

The Wizard reluctantly raised underground water so it could be tapped, but was trying to find an angle not to return to the sanatorium.

Van Zante got very lucky. The Arabian crime lord Sheikh Hurani and his men had been looking to hire the Water Wizard, and attacked Blaze. The Water Wizard fled with them, and they brought him to Saudi Arabia.

Oil shock

Hurani had van Zante animate oil to wreck and terrorise refineries. He intended to blackmail local OPEC countries. However, the Water Wizard felt like a prisoner of the dangerous criminal, rather than an associate.

Water Wizard (Peter van Zante) animates an oil monster

Blaze saw this on the news. He felt responsible enough about the Water Wizard being at large to track him all the way to the peninsula. Teaming up with the Arabian Knight (Abdul Qamar), the Ghost Rider stopped the foul felons of fossil fuels.

The Water Wizard was extradited by Saudi authorities to the US. But secondary sources indicate that, for some unclear reason, Justin Hammer then had van Zante freed.

Van Zante essentially spent the 1980s in hiding. Since he was present on the Bar With No Name circuit, one suspects that he stuck with mundane crimes. His goal likely was to stay well away from large police forces and — especially — super-heroes.

Bar with no name

In 1986, he was supposed to attend a meeting at a Bar With No Name. This had been convened by Firebrand (Gary Gilbert) to discuss the murder of numerous minor super-criminals across the Americas – the sort of people who frequented Bars With No Name.

However, Van Zant’s VW Beetle  got a flat tyre on the way, and he was hours late. When he walked in, he discovered that everyone inside had been shot dead. Terrified, he called Captain America’s hotline. The paranoid van Zante briefly attacked Cap when he showed up, to make sure it was the real Cap and not a disguised killer.

Captain America agreed to hunt down the murderer. He even let the Water Wizard go – since van Zante would just be an easy target if the local authorities jailed him.

Van Zante mostly stayed in hiding for the next few years. He was one of the criminals accidentally hit by the effects of the Aggression Enhancer and spurred into attacking the Fantastic Four. But he ran into Hydro-Man and the two men just fought each other.

Later on he was seen trying to attack Avengers Mansion for unrevealed reasons. But a nearby construction worker kicked him unconscious from behind before he could act.

For van Zante’s subsequent career, see the Aqueduct character profile.


Early on, the Wizard’s hands emitted visible energy beams that hit the volume of water he animated. The beams did not have to be maintained once the water had been hit once.


The Water Wizard is generally an aimless schmuck. As Captain America put it he’s not one of the sterner criminals he’s met. However, van Zante was talked into a life of crime and can no longer turn back.

He will avoid powerful opponents as much as possible — and even the police, since he’s certainly not bulletproof — as he was badly hurt in the past.

However, if the thinks that he can have the upper hand, he immediately turns into a bully, albeit not necessarily a confident one. Given his experiences with the Ghost Rider, it is possible that he particularly avoids fighting occult foes.

Van Zante would like to have an ego and be a gloating, grandiose villain making thunderous declarations about his great power. However, what actually happens leave him with little room for that. In fact, it tends to leave him in something more akin to a depressive mood, as he seems to have bipolar tendencies.

The Water Wizard is not the smartest person you know. He tends to act without considering the consequences, then whine when things turn against him.


“I’ll show the Enforcer I’m tough !” (animates a water creature) “Monster ! Kill the Ghost Rider !”

(Refusing to fight Iron Man) “Are you crazy ? I almost got skragged in ’Nam, and then I only had an *army* to fight ! The only thing my water-forming powers are going to make is a surf-scooter to get me the blaze outta here ! So long, Hammer ! I’ll send you a check for the bail you paid !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Water Wizard

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 008 HP: 015

Force manipulation: 08, Water Animation: 10, Water control: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers have a maximum Range of 6 APs, all Powers require a sufficient volume of liquid (not necessarily water) within Range, and all Powers manifest where the liquid is.
  • All APs from Powers (including the STR and BODY of animations) assume that at least 6 APs of Volume of liquid are within Range. If the available Volume is lower, lower APs accordingly.
  • All Powers manifestations made of water have a -2CS RV Partial Attack Vulnerability against heat- and cold-based attacks. Other liquids may have other Vulnerabilities – thus oil was vulnerable to energy attacks.
  • Force manipulation cannot duplicate energy effects and is generally restricted to simple objects or imitating the human body (usually hands and arms).
  • Water animation – see below.

Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Familiarity (Military protocols and equipment).

Underworld (Low), Hammer Industries (Low, defunct).

None demonstrated.

Liquid animation

As often, the Wizard’s animations differ from those in the rulesbook. In his specific case, they work like this :

  • An animation always has DEX 05 STR 10 BODY 08 INT 01.
  • Its Powers are Fluid Form (Only to Squeeze Through): 06, Growth (Already Factored In): 02, Skin Armour (only vs. piercing/ballistic attacks): 04. They probably have Swimming: 04 and Water Freedom: 06 or so, but this is never demonstrated.
  • Creating an animation takes a Dice Action, though no dice roll is involved.
  • As far as we can tell, the Water Wizard can only take basic actions while an animation is in play – talking, walking and the like. He has no Dice Actions. As long as he gives them orders, the animations use his Initiative score.
  • If an animation is destroyed, the Water Wizard can expand a Dice Action to recreate it in the same Phase it is destroyed – if there’s enough liquid available.
  • If the Water Wizard is knocked unconscious or start taking Actions, an animation will subsist for one Phase before dispersing, during which it will carry on the last order it received.
  • As a Marginal ability, the Water Wizard can have a second animation active. But that costs 5 Hero Points per Phase and the second animation dissolves as soon as he stops paying (no one-Phase grace period).

For unknown reasons, when the Water Wizard animated crude oil he could have a half-dozen creatures up without strain. Furthermore, these had Energy Blast: 08, Accuracy (Energy blast): 04 and Flight: 05. The Range of his Powers also seemed increased to 08.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Late 1970s Marvel Universe (chiefly Ghost Rider).

Helper(s): Jackson.

Writeup revised on the 26th of April, 2013.