Meet Titania, a Rival Fit for She-Hulk
Who is Titania? Read on to learn more about She-Hulk's self-appointed rival!
Bullied and living in a world where super heroes are real, Mary MacPherran always dreamed of gaining superpowers. Classmates nicknamed her Skeeter, cruelly comparing her to a mosquito and making her wish she was as powerful as someone like Julia Carpenter’s Spider-Woman.
Desperately unhappy, Mary lied to her friend Marsha Rosenberg (who later became Volcana) about being Spider-Woman. Of course, Mary was caught in her web of lies when the real Spider-Woman swung in to save her hometown of Denver, CO from the Beyonder’s plan to use it as a battleground for villains and super heroes to test their might. Fortunately for Mary, that exposed lie caused her to run into Doctor Doom in Marvel’s first-ever crossover series SECRET WARS (1984) #3. Doctor Doom promised Mary superpowers in exchange for her loyalty to him, and she happily agreed to these terms.
Doom then used energy from an alien storm to transform Mary into a tank-like super villain. She named herself Titania because she wanted others to see her as a powerful titan. Thanks to her stamina, incredible strength, and tough skin, Titania held her own – and landed powerful punches – against the likes of Thor, She-Hulk, Wolverine, and Rogue.
Titania’s newfound power gave her a god complex, leading her to (ironically) underestimate Spider-Man due to his smaller size during SECRET WARS (1984). She was bested by him in battle, and he threw her into a wall – leading her to fear confronting him for several years, at least until Marvel’s "Acts of Vengeance" crossover in 1989.
On Battleworld, Titania encountered She-Hulk, who then became her longstanding nemesis. Due to her feelings of inadequacy, Titania often feels the desire to win against others, no matter the cost. When she realized how similar She-Hulk’s stature and powers were to hers, she arrogantly self-appointed She-Hulk as her rival.
Years later, after she escaped the high security prison known as The Vault, Titania vowed to never fight She-Hulk again, but she just couldn’t resist the competition. Time and time again, Titania confronted Jennifer Waters, wanting to prove she is the better fighter – going as far as obtaining the Power Gem to boost her strength to Hulk-like levels. Unlike their first face-off, however, Titania always loses against Jennifer – and Jennifer pointedly calls her “Skeeter” to bug her.
Following her transformation, Titania joined several super villain teams, including the Masters of Evil, the Frightful Four, and the Femizons – an all-female group determined to destroy Captain America and live in a world where women rule over men. Then, in Matt Fraction, Steve McNiven, and Stuart Immonen’s FEAR ITSELF (2010) event, she wielded Skirn, Breaker of Men, an Asgardian weapon that only the Worthy can lift, making her a dreaded threat to the Avengers and more.
However, her closest bond and allyship will always be to Carl Creel. Battleworld also introduced Titania to Carl Creel, AKA Absorbing Man, a super villain co-created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Mary worked alongside him during her time with Masters of Evil and later married him. (The Avengers even crashed their wedding in AVENGER’S UNPLUGGED (1996) #4 – thanks to She-Hulk, who thought it was a secret super villain convention!) Sometimes, the pair embraces their villainous side. Other times, they commit crimes for earnest reasons, like gathering funds for Mary’s cancer treatment because they have no health insurance. Their relationship is based on respect – but Mary isn’t above punching Absorbing Man for doing things like mocking Dr. Jane Foster for being a super hero.
In later comic runs, Mary became more of an antihero than a super villain by teaming up with Korg, helping to track down a rogue Hulk, and fighting off Inhuman villains in the BLACK BOLT (2017) series. She’s also not afraid to tell villains like the Hood when their sinister schemes cross a moral line, even for her – like suggesting she help kill the Avengers’ family members.
Despite her animosity towards She-Hulk, Mary can be especially compassionate toward fellow women super heroes. When Mary’s cancer became terminal, the Absorbing Man kidnapped Dr. Jane Foster to save Mary’s life. When Thor arrived to save Jane, he triggered the building that they were in to collapse. Even in her weakened and dying state, Titania used her remaining strength to hold up a building and save Jane’s life. Thanks to that, Jane helped cure Mary’s cancer.
Recently, Titania has come to better terms with She-Hulk. When Mary came across a down-on-her-luck Jennifer Walters in Rainbow Rowell and Roge Antonio’s SHE-HULK (2022) #1, the two giantesses made a pact: every so often, they would find a vacant parking lot to fight in to blow off some steam together. As a result, Titania and She-Hulk now regularly spar with one another – and sometimes, they even bring along a superpowered friend or two!
Beneath the gruff exterior of Mary MacPherran, there lies a powerful woman still finding her place in the world.
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