After high school outcast, Mary MacPherran receives superpowers from Doctor Doom’s superhuman augmentation process, she becomes the brash and confident Titania, a super-strong force to be reckoned with and foremost foe to Jennifer Walters, AKA She-Hulk.
From Frail to Fighting Fit
Born prematurely, Mary MacPherran spends much of her life feeling as small and frail as she was in her infancy. The latest and littlest of a string of siblings in a dirt-poor family living on the outskirts of Denver, she grows up starved for attention and affection. Young Mary finds comfort in her pretty Millie the Model doll and her childhood fairytales, especially the story of the ugly duckling that grew into a beautiful swan; however, the growth and beauty that Mary hopes would never come. While her peers grow taller and prettier, Mary remains small, scrawny, and plain throughout her teens. Unhappy and unpopular, she is bullied by popular girls such as wealthy, athletic beauty Vanessa Ashwood, who sees Mary as a pesky insect and calls her “Skeeter.” The mocking nickname stuck, but not everyone regards Mary as a pest: the plump, good-natured, and similarly unpopular Marsha Rosenberg becomes Mary’s best friend, and later her co-worker in retail at the local Nu-Mart.
Though comforted by Marsha’s friendship, Mary still envies and resents more fortunate girls. Spending all her time at work or in school, using most of her salary to help pay her family’s bills, Mary uses her scant spare cash to buy lottery tickets, dreaming of the power and respect that wealth might bring her—but she never wins anything, not even the smallest prizes. More satisfying are the comic books she reads at Nu-Mart, with their tales of real-life Super Heroes like the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Super Heroes were more true-to-life than her childhood fairytales, and more common than lottery winners; Mary fantasizes about becoming superhuman, craving power and revenge on her tormentors.
When new heroine Julia Carpenter, AKA Spider-Woman (later Arachne), debuted in Denver, Mary sees her capture the Super Villain William Taurens, AKA Man-Bull. Mary was thrilled and fascinated, and when Marsha noticed that Mary and Spider-Woman had the same hair color, Mary impulsively told Marsha she was really Spider-Woman and asked her to keep it a secret. It seemed like a harmless way to share her fantasy life with her best friend, but the fib backfired. Completely believing Mary’s story, an excited Marsha leaked her friend’s “secret identity,” and Mary became the talk of the town; she and Marsha even got invited to the prestigious Ashwood Family Ball—which confused Mary until she learned that everyone there thought she was Spider-Woman. Initially angry, Mary quickly forgave Marsha since she loved the attention.
Mary’s local celebrity status ended during that same party, when the cosmic Beyonder transported their entire Denver suburb across the universe and made it part of his patchwork planet Battleworld, where he pitted armies of Earth’s heroes and villains against each other for his amusement. When the real Spider-Woman rescued the partygoers from some unstable architecture, Mary’s fraud was exposed, and the guests decided to take their frustrations out on “Skeeter.” An angry mob of partiers led by Ashwood chased Mary and Marsha out of town and into the surrounding wilderness, where they met Latverian tyrant Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom, leader of the Battleworld villain army. Seeking new recruits, and reminded of his own outcast youth, Doom offered to make the women powerful enough to crush their enemies if they agreed to serve him. Mary and Marsha accepted his offer, and Doom used Battleworld’s alien science to infuse the two friends with radiation which mutated them. Marsha became the fiery Volcana, while Mary became tall, massive, voluptuous, and superhumanly strong. Considering herself a new woman, Mary adopted the name “Titania” and designed a costume to go with it.
At Full Strength
Titania has tremendous superhuman strength (Class 100 in peak condition). Possessed of enhanced endurance, she can exert herself at peak levels for an hour before becoming fatigued. Titania is also superhumanly durable. She is bulletproof, resistant to temperature extremes (ranging from 1500 degrees to -120 degrees Celsius), immune to most terrestrial disease, and heals twice as fast as a normal human. She once wore sonic field enhancers as gloves that increased her strength by a factor of 10.
When she wears the Power Gem, her physical might is limitless, but her bond with the gem depends on her obsessive devotion to a single goal: the destruction of She-Hulk.
Titania is an experienced, vicious, and often treacherous unarmed combatant. She is also emotionally unstable, suffering from obsessive tendencies, misplaced aggression, a persecution complex and a crippling inferiority complex that alternates with occasional delusions of grandeur.
Opposing Brute Force
She-Hulk threatens Mary’s belief that she’s the strongest woman and therefore is her foremost foe. Mary trains to best the Gamma-powered lawyer, launching several unsuccessful attacks against She-Hulk despite her superhuman strength.
Mary also goes up against Spider-Man numerous times, and often gets captured by Super Heroes, suffering demoralizing defeats. She also battles the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, Freedom Force, Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, Paladin, Thor Odinson, AKA Thor, Spider-Man, Code: Blue, Earth-691's Guardians of the Galaxy, Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, Luke Cage, Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, the FF's ally Bounty.
Union is Strength
Carl “Crusher” Creel, AKA Absorbing Man becomes her friend and romantic partner. Sometimes Titania acts alone, sometimes with groups such as Superia's Femizons, Helmut Zemo, AKA Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil, Wizard (born Bentley Wittman)’s Frightful Four, or
or Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus’ Masters of Evil, but mostly she works alongside Creel, who eventually marries her. Thanks in part to encouragement from Super Hero Eric Masterson, AKA Thunderstrike, Absorbing Man and Titania try to settle down and go straight both before and after their wedding, but they have difficulty staying out of trouble; Titania in particular was reluctant to give up crime, despite Creel repeatedly pressuring her to do so.
When Titania’s obsession with besting She-Hulk became her singular goal, Carl leaves her and she doesn’t notice. Believing the sacrifice is worth it, she trains even harder and goes after She-Hulk again. After another defeat and not knowing what to do with herself, the Tryco Slatterus, AKA Fallen One, gifts her an Infinity Gem of power and trains her in its use over many weeks. Despite gaining a new ally, she realizes he could take the Gem from her, so she easily drops a massive rock on top of him, preventing his escape.
Titania became one of the villain army’s most enthusiastic and powerful combatants, battling the X-Men, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. She even started a romance with fellow villain Absorbing Man. She was finally living her dreams, but harsh realities soon intruded. Insisting on facing the similarly super-strong She-Hulk, in single combat, Titania had the advantage at first but was soon overpowered; her fellow villains helped her beat Walters into submission, but Mary still felt humiliated.
Shaken by her first real failure as Titania, Mary was further traumatized during a subsequent skirmish with Spider-Man whose agility and experience enabled him to hand the far more powerful Titania a crushing defeat. Thoroughly demoralized, Titania was glad when Volcana’s new boyfriend Owen Reece, AKA Molecule Man, transported her, Marsha and most of the other villains back to Earth, taking the displaced Denver suburb with them. During the space voyage home, Titania tried to make herself feel better by terrorizing Vanessa Ashwood, but found this surprisingly unsatisfying.
Back on Earth, Mary became a professional super-criminal. She and her boyfriend Absorbing Man quickly joined Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil. Around this same time, Titania realized she had developed a crippling, irrational fear of Spider-Man, though she resisted it long enough to defend her partner Creel from Spider-Man during a Masters mission. Ironically, however, the criminal couple was soon captured by heroes even less powerful than Spider-Man, the Avengers’ Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp, and Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man. Breaking out of the Vault and humbling the novice hero Dennis Dunphy, AKA Demolition Man, Titania repeatedly attacked She-Hulk until the furious Walters snapped and beat Titania so savagely that a shaken Mary turned herself over to the police. Escaping again, she later battled the Fantastic Four as part of the Wizard’s Frightful Four but this criminal quartet soon met defeat.
Recruited into the “Acts of Vengeance” anti-Super Hero conspiracy, Titania was manipulated into targeting Spider-Man by Doctor Doom, who secretly attached a “sensor controller” device to her which converted her fear of Spider-Man into violent rage. Under the device’s influence, Titania battled Spider-Man and his ally Puma, who dislodged the sensor controller during the fight. Momentarily paralyzed by terror, Titania finally, fully overcame her fear of Spider-Man through sheer force of will and fought on, confident of victory; however, Spider-Man had temporarily gained the cosmic “uni-power” shortly before the fight, and he instinctively flattened Titania with a massive energy blast. Freed from custody by Franklin Hall, AKA Graviton, Titania joined him, Barton and Percy Grimes, AKA the Brothers Grimm, Pete Petruski, AKA Trapster, and Erik Josten, AKA Goliath (later Atlas), in a mass assault on their mutual foe Spider-Man, who had since lost his additional cosmic powers. Hired for this purpose by crime boss Chameleon, the super-criminals seemingly destroyed Spider-Man, but Chameleon disappeared without paying them and tricked them into attacking his supposed business partner, rival crime boss Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin. Spider-Man intervened and swiftly defeated all six super-criminals through a combination of luck, skill and the element of surprise.
Titania continued her criminal career, battling many foes. Suddenly stricken by cancer (apparently a delayed side-effect of the radiation treatments that empowered her), an increasingly frail Titania nearly died before Thor and Dr. Jane Foster, helped Creel get her proper medical help. Mary soon recovered, though her medical expenses kept the couple in extreme poverty for a time. Her old obsession apparently rekindled by her near-death experience, Titania began preparing for yet another rematch with She-Hulk, training so intensively for months that she didn’t even notice when a neglected Creel left her. Stronger than ever before, Titania stalked and attacked She-Hulk; however, Walters had recently undergone a strength upgrade of her own, and she defeated Titania with a single punch.
Immediately afterward, Titania was approached by another of She-Hulk’s enemies, Tryco Slatterus, AKA Fallen One, an Elder of the Universe formerly known as the Champion. Forced to give up the infinite strength of his Power Gem after losing a battle with She-Hulk, Slatterus gave the Gem to Titania and trained her in its use so that she could destroy She-Hulk on his behalf. After crushing Slatterus to ensure he could not take back the Gem, Titania began terrorizing She-Hulk’s friends and co-workers—wrecking the Excelsior apartments, demolishing Timely Plaza, crippling Mallory Book, nearly killing Awesome Andy, and single-handedly defeating a host of Super Heroes, including She-Hulk herself; however, when the shape-shifter Ditto tricked Titania into believing she had killed She-Hulk, Mary felt empty and directionless in victory. With Titania’s connection to the Gem weakened by the sudden loss of her driving obsession, Walters usurped the Gem and beat Titania into submission.
Shrunken down and jailed in an experimental miniature prison at the Lang Memorial Penitentiary, AKA Ant-Farm, Titania escaped, briefly working for Leland Owlsley, AKA Owl, and his lieutenant Mr. Pain as part of a Super Villain army advised by the Consultant, but rogue super-criminal Jackie Dio defeated them. Reconciling with Creel at an Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) Christmas party, Titania rejoined the Wizard's Frightful Four, but the Fantastic Four captured them all. Shrunken down again, she was jailed in Pym Experimental Prison One, AKA The Big House, where she sought Mallory Book's legal services, not knowing a vengeful Book was planning to crush the miniaturized Mary until Book's colleague Augustus Pugliese talked her out of it. Escaping again but still trapped at miniature size, Titania aided Creel in trying to free his criminal cousin Hi-Lite from bounty hunters She-Hulk and Jazinda Kl’rt-Spawn, AKA Jazinda, but their efforts ended in defeat and a shark swallowing Titania. Titania survived the shark and after an encounter with X-Factor Investigations where she led them into a trap, she ended up at the Raft, imprisoned.
When eight mystical war hammers fell to Earth, they spread terror and chaos on behalf of the Serpent, the ancient Asgardian god of fear. Known as the Hammers of the Serpent, one of them transforms Titania into Skirn: Breaker of Men. She helps Absorbing Man track down a Hammer but her hammer is taken from her and she’s returned to the Raft.
After suffering so many defeats during her criminal career, Titania tried to go legit. Released on parole, She-Hulk got her a job at a pawnshop. There, she stopped robbers but the shop’s owner blamed Titania which led to a fight with Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Then Parker Robbins, AKA the Hood, recruited her into his Illuminati, and secretly set up the robbery to manipulate her back into crime. He also upgraded her powers without her knowledge. Starting to distrust him, especially after he suggested they attack their enemies’ families, she engaged him in a fight and while she won and destroyed his mystical cloak, she lost the boost of power that it gave her. She realized her life could never be normal and reverted to crime once again.
After Creel sacrificed himself to save children, Titania learned of it from the Inhuman Blackagar Boltagon, AKA Black Bolt, and Blinky. She coordinated his funeral which Captain America attended and despite their antagonistic relationship in the past, Titania asked him to speak. He did so respectfully. After the funeral, Lash attacked Black Bolt and Titania entered the fray to help Black Bolt but it wasn’t enough and Blinky was taken by the Jailer. The Inhuman’s teleporter Lockjaw transported Titania back to the cemetery where Creel emerged from his grave, claiming he was hard to kill. Meanwhile Black Bolt defeated the Jailer and they all reunited afterward.
Titania then joined Gamma Flight with Creel and aided Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, and his allies against General Fortean who became the new Abomination and Roxxon’s monsters. Though, after the Hulk killed people in a gamma blast, Titania and Gamma Flight went after him. Despite Titania’s best efforts fighting the Hulk, she was defeated. As such, Creel absorbed the gamma energy in the vicinity and transformed into a giant to finish the battle and with fellow teammate Eugene Judd, AKA Puck, they defeated him and took him to Alpha Flight’s space station but he soon escaped. Titania and Creel quit the team when their new boss Henry Gyrich threatened to arrest Creel.