The History of She-Hulk and Titania
Get to the bottom of the longtime rivalry between Jennifer Walters and Mary MacPherran!
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In the Marvel Universe, it’s not unusual for heroes to pick up lifelong adversaries or a singular Super Villain nemesis. For example, Spider-Man has the Green Goblin, Captain America has the Red Skull, and the Hulk has the Leader. And Jennifer Walters, AKA She-Hulk has a rival of her own: Mary MacPherran, AKA the super-strong Titania.
For nearly four decades of comic book stories, She-Hulk and Titania have been at each other's throats. Although Titania has lost the vast majority of their battles, she keeps coming back for more. Beating She-Hulk became an obsession for her, even though Titania often lacks the self-awareness to understand why she hates Jennifer so much. Fortunately, the comics on Marvel Unlimited allow readers to gain a deeper insight on what put She-Hulk and Titania on a collision course, and why they may finally be ready to try something new.
To understand the conflict between She-Hulk and Titania, we have to go back to the very beginning. And that means revisiting SECRET WARS (1984). Titania made her comics debut in issue #3 alongside her friend, Marsha Rosenberg/Volcana, as willing conscripts of Doctor Doom, the man who gave them their powers on the Beyonder’s Battleworld. Titania didn’t encounter She-Hulk one-on-one until issue #7, which featured their first-ever fight.
However, SHE-HULK (2004) #10 added significant context to that battle. This issue revealed in great detail how an adolescent Mary MacPherran was bullied and unhappy with her body before her transformation. Once she had the power of Titania, Mary felt like nothing could stop her. In the expanded version of her first fight with She-Hulk, readers learned that Jennifer got the best of Mary before the other villains ganged up on her. That feeling of helplessness stayed with Titania, and fueled her long rivalry with She-Hulk.
Surprisingly, She-Hulk’s next encounter with Titania didn’t occur until SOLO AVENGERS (1987) #14. The good news for Jennifer is that she proved to be far more powerful than Titania in a series of very one-sided encounters. Unfortunately for Jen, Titania picked an inopportune time to attack. Because this was the day that Jennifer finally had her chance to argue a case in front of the United States Supreme Court. She took so much time dealing with Titania that Jen’s opportunity slipped away.
That made Jennifer very angry, and as they say about Hulks, you wouldn’t like them when they’re angry. She-Hulk was so intimidating that she successfully coerced Titania into promising never to attack her again. But this was a promise that Titania ultimately couldn’t bring herself to keep.
Be honest: Was anyone really surprised when Titania went back on her word in SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK (1989) #49? Titania really picked her moment this time. Thanks to some alien shenanigans, Jennifer Walters and her best friend, Louise “Weezi” Mason, swapped forms. That transformed Louise into the new She-Hulk and made Jennifer considerably smaller, shorter, and much weaker than she normally was. Although she was still green.
Titania didn’t care that Jen’s diminished physical state made the fight one-sided. She wanted payback on Jennifer, and she nearly got it. If Louise hadn’t finally relinquished the powers of the She-Hulk, Jennifer could have died. Once Jennifer had her powers back, she made short work of Titania.
In the aforementioned SHE-HULK (2004) #10, the Elder of the Universe known as Champion gave Titania his Power Gem so that she could get revenge on their mutual enemy: She-Hulk. In issue #11, Titania did just that. With the Power Gem’s might, Titania very nearly killed Jennifer. She-Hulk realized that this was one battle she couldn’t win through brawn alone. So in the rematch in issue #12, Jennfier allowed Titania to believe that she had really killed her rival. That moment of triumph turned out to be an empty and fleeting feeling for Titania, which allowed Jennifer to take the Power Gem and deliver a knockout blow of her own.
THE “QUIET” LIFE
Constantly losing to She-Hulk, coupled with the catastrophic events of SECRET WARS (2015), had a profound effect on Titania. In ILLUMINATI (2015) #1, Titania simply wanted to be Mary again and focus on building a life with her husband, Carl “Crusher” Creel, AKA the Absorbing Man. Jennifer was naturally skeptical about Mary’s about face, but she nevertheless helped her get a job as security at a local pawn shop.
Mary’s attempt to go straight didn’t last long when crime boss the Hood sabotaged her new job and recruited her to his organization. Regardless, Titania was openly wary of the Hood’s motivations and intentions towards her. In ILLUMINATI (2015) #7, Titania and several other villains walked away from the Hood after he suggested killing the families of their heroic adversaries. Instead of going along with that plan, Titania tore the Hood’s magic cloak in half and recommitted to her marriage with Carl.
SUPER FIGHT CLUB
You may have heard that She-Hulk’s had a rough time since nearly dying in CIVIL WAR II. For far too long, Jennifer’s She-Hulk persona reverted to a monstrous brute who was just a shadow of her former self. Thankfully, Jennifer once again has full control of her She-Hulk form, which came in handy when she reunited with Titania in SHE-HULK (2022) #1 for one of their traditional fights.
The key difference in this battle is that Jennifer and Mary actually took the opportunity to talk to each other, and feel out where they were in their respective lives. For perhaps the first time, they truly felt empathy for each other. They even admitted that they mutually enjoyed their fights and they even worked out an arrangement to meet up and blow off some steam from time to time. That led to their “Super Fight Club,” which has expanded to other heroes and villains who want to tussle without causing too much property damage. Time will tell how long Jen and Mary will maintain their (civil-ish) joint venture.
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