Mary MacPherran

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Titania
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Secret Wars #3 (July 1984)
Created by Jim Shooter
Mike Zeck
In-story information
Alter ego Mary MacPherran
Team affiliations Masters of Evil
Femizons
Frightful Four
The Worthy
Partnerships Doctor Doom
Absorbing Man
Notable aliases "Skeeter"
Skirn: Breaker of Men
Abilities Expert street fighter
Immense superhuman strength
Superhuman stamina
High resistance to physical injury

Mary MacPherran, alias Titania, is a supervillainess in the Marvel Comics universe, notable for being one of Marvel's strongest human female characters, and the wife of the Absorbing Man. She was created by then Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter, in the successful company-wide crossover known as Secret Wars. An aspiring bully, Titania became a significant threat and the main rival of the She-Hulk. She is also well known for having a long lasting fear of Spider-Man.

MacPherran is the second supervillainess to use the name. The first Titania was a female wrestler (a member of The Grapplers) who was assassinated by the Scourge of the Underworld.[1] Upon her resurrection, her powers were expanded and she took the name Lascivious.[2]

Publication history[edit]

MacPherran as Titania was introduced in Secret Wars #3.

Mary MacPherran is the real name of a production assistant at Marvel who was asked by Jim Shooter if it was permissible to name a character after her.[citation needed] According to writer/editor Christopher J. Priest, Mary MacPherran is a tuckerized version of Mary McPherson, a production assistant at Marvel.[3]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Born prematurely in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, Mary MacPherran grew up scrawny and short-statured, inspiring a popular girl at school, Vanessa Ashwood, to nickname her "Skeeter" (a slang word for mosquito). As a high school senior, she worked as a salesclerk alongside her only other friend, an often shy, overweight girl named Marsha Rosenberg. Consistently and sadistically mocked and humiliated since childhood by the wealthy, popular, conceited, and immensely spoiled Vanessa and her social clique, while personally eventually being forced to take menial jobs just to survive, Mary grew resentful and bitter over her lack of any quality of existence, and fantasized about gaining superpowers to become admired, and exact retribution on her tormentors.[4]

After the second Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) makes one of her early appearances in their town, Marsha remarks that the new superheroine's reddish-blonde hair color matches Mary's. Mary then falsely confides to her friend that she is secretly Spider-Woman. Shortly afterward, Mary was invited to a fancy party at Vanessa's house, where she was surprised to find that her newfound popularity is due to Marsha spreading around the false Spider-Woman rumor.

However, in the middle of the party, their section of Denver was torn from Earth and became part of the composite planet Battleworld, created by the Beyonder as a stage for a selected group of superheroes and supervillains to battle each other. When the real Spider-Woman arrives on the scene to save the guests from a collapsing structure, the now-enraged Vanessa and her guests turn on Mary and Marsha, chasing them into the forests of Battleworld.

Scared and exhausted, the two girls are found by Doctor Doom, who was in need of further metahuman operatives to further his ambitions. Mary and Marsha both agree to Doom's offer of power in exchange for serving in his army of supervillains.[5]

Secret Wars[edit]

Using the highly advanced alien technologies found in Doombase, the appropriately-named villain headquarters, powered by immense energies from the ferocious alien storm outside, Doom recreates both women; able to use the technology entirely as he desired, Doom induced high-level metahuman abilities of specific and particular design. While Rosenberg (now known as Volcana) received a fiery form composed of ionized plasma, MacPherran gained powers in diametric opposition to her previous incarnation – where once she had been "the scrawny one who got her face rubbed in the dirt", she was now far more tall, muscular, and buxom than average.

The changes were not only physical, but mental in nature. Where Mary MacPherran had been small and timid, the newly named Titania, so called because of strength like a titan, was proud, and confident, perhaps to extremes. No sooner had Volcana melted machinery into a large pile of red-hot slag, than Titania picked it up, boldly ignoring the slight possibility of injury, and hurled it through the wall; soon after, she challenged Carl "Crusher" Creel, the Absorbing Man, to a fight which he refused, reasoning that he had "nothing to prove...to a dame."

Titania began to work for Doom in earnest, and was one of the criminals ordered by Doom to attack the superheroes.[6] She battled Thor,[7] and then battled Rogue and Wolverine.[8] She then battled the X-Men, but her most impressive conquest was Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, getting the best of her during a gang beating; she did not know it, but this would be the beginning of a long rivalry.[9]

Yet, when the heroes later stormed Doombase to rescue She-Hulk, Titania tried to face up against veteran superhero Spider-Man. She started the fight extremely confident due to her massive strength and durability advantages, but panicked upon realizing that Spider-Man's vastly superior speed, agility, reflexes, and years of experience against more powerful foes allowed him to not only easily avoid her, but also attack her with complete impunity. The fight ended when Spider-Man beat her into the ground, then picked her up and disdainfully tossed her through an exterior wall. During this fight, Titania's attitude and newfound arrogance quickly evaporated, giving way to what Spider-Man mockingly called the "whining little wimp-ette" — it was clear that the arrogance could only last while Titania had the upper hand, otherwise a reversion to her previous character would occur.[10] Mindful of this beating, Titania avoided coming into contact with Spider-Man while on Battleworld, and would harbor a fear of Spider-Man for some time after returning to Earth.

After her run-in with Spider-Man, a previously hinted-at relationship between the Absorbing Man and Titania began; Titania seemed fairly dependent on Creel at this point. Once Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, managed to seal off the chunk of Denver, and begin to navigate it back to Earth, Creel and MacPherran revealed that they were done with Doom and his war, and simply wanted to go home.[11]

Back to Earth[edit]

Once back on Earth however, Titania and Absorbing Man did not settle down to the quiet life, instead continuing to work as professional criminals by joining Baron Helmut Zemo's latest incarnation of the Masters of Evil.[12] Their first assignment was to recruit the powerful Moonstone into the group, which also prevented them from joining the main group in the assault on Avengers Mansion. To kill time, Titania robbed a jewelry store, only to come to the attention of Spider-Man; too afraid to fight, she ran from combat, only to encounter him again in LaGuardia Airport. There, once more, Titania tried not to fight, having Creel do so on her behalf; yet the sight of his near-defeat at Spider-Man's hands was enough for Titania to temporarily overcome her arachnophobia, charging into combat. It was a moot point, though, since Creel ended the fight by threatening to destroy a plane full of innocents if Spider-Man refused to leave the scene, which he (Spider-Man) reluctantly did.[13]

The villain couple received another assignment from the Masters: to kill Hercules, who had been gravely injured previously by the Masters, and was in the hospital. Yet despite a guard of only Scott Lang (Ant-Man), and Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp), Hercules survived; with Creel stung by insects in human form, and Titania shrunk to the size of Wasp, the villains were easily subdued, with Titania taken to the Vault, a superhuman penitentiary.[14]

Her stay in the Vault was not to last long, however. When Tony Stark, Iron Man, began the Armor Wars, the battle to destroy or disable all enhanced armor types based on stolen Iron Man designs, this inevitably led him to the Guardsmen, The Vault's wardens. The ensuing conflict, while successful from his point of view, created a power failure, allowing Titania and Mister Hyde to escape. While Captain America managed to subdue and capture Mister Hyde, his colleague D-Man was unsuccessful in apprehending Titania; when allowed the opportunity for a rematch, D-Man simply let the villainess escape.[volume & issue needed]

Using her newfound freedom, Titania traveled to Washington D.C; losing a succession of battles with She-Hulk, Titania promised to never attack her again, and to return to jail.[15]

Broken out yet again, Titania joined with the Wizard, Klaw, and Hydro-Man, to become the new Frightful Four, to exact vengeance upon the Fantastic Four. Battling the Fantastic Four, with Titania taking on the Thing and Ms. Marvel, the team only won due to help from Professor Gregson Gilbert's creation Dragon Man, and Aron, the Renegade Watcher;[16] in the rematch, the Fantastic Four prevailed,[17] only to have both Fours imprisoned by Aron in suspended animation, using clones of the Fantastic Four to act out adventures he wished to witness.[volume & issue needed] When both teams were freed, Aron chose to witness the dreams of his clones instead, transporting the Frightful Four back to The Vault, as a service to the Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed]

However, this stay in The Vault was as permanent as earlier ones – a conspiracy between Loki and the Wizard saw Titania free once more, in Loki's Acts of Vengeance plan. Teaming supervillains to fight enemies not usually their own, Titania was dismayed when Doctor Doom, her partner, told her she would face not She-Hulk, but Spider-Man. Yet Doom managed to stoke her pride and anger, allowing her to overcome her fear and engage Spider-Man; it was unfortunate that at this time, Spider-Man had temporarily bonded with the Uni-Power, making him Captain Universe. This granted him the power to render Titania unconscious in one massive energy discharge; the only benefit of the situation was that Titania lost her fear of Spider-Man. She also encountered the Puma during this episode.[18]

This time, Titania did not even make it back to the Vault; she was freed on the way to the Vault by Graviton, who also collected the Trapster and the Brothers Grimm. All had been humiliated by Spider-Man in the Captain Universe guise, and along with Chameleon and Goliath, they attempted to take revenge with a promised reward from the Chameleon, only to fail. Titania, humiliatingly, was defeated by a collision with a speeding bus.[19]

Finding romance[edit]

Escaping The Vault once again, Titania joined Superia's Femizons, as foes of Captain America and the Paladin.[20] This did not work out, however, and so Titania resolved to track down her old flame – the Absorbing Man. Finding him battling the Eric Masterson Thor; when she appeared injured by a blow from Mjolnir, Creel admitted his love for her, which she gladly reciprocated. Seeing this, Thor allowed them to leave.[21]

While Creel made an attempt to live a normal life, Titania went back to robbing jewelry stores; concerned, Creel attempted to "scare her straight", collaborating with Thor in a ploy involving a Guggenheim exhibit. While the appearance of Spider-Man and special police unit Code: Blue complicated matters, ultimately Titania remembered her love for Creel.[22]

Creel continues to get mad at Mary for not managing to stay legal and violating their parole. In order to alleviate her stress he arranges an official bout with the She-Hulk, but Titania nonetheless decides to cheat.[23]

Once this was done, Titania came to her senses somewhat, asking Creel to marry her. The wedding was attended by many supervillains; while the Avengers interrupted the ceremony, they left the couple alone.[24] Titania quickly grows bored with her law-abiding reform, and after Absorbing Man tries to buy her a Valentine's present but is nonetheless attacked by the police, they accept having to live a life on the run from the law.[25]

In need of funds the pair assumes the guises of Thunder Girl and Lightning Bolt in order to hunt Spider-Man for the reward offered by Norman Osborn.[26]

Despite Titania briefly contracting severe skin burns as a result of this escapade, the pair remains unable to reform, and commit more robberies. Titania also continues to clash with the She-Hulk.[27]

Illness and recuperation[edit]

However, this was not a permanent state of affairs; despite her enhanced durability, Titania contracted a terminal illness: cancer. Without health insurance and no money, she was quickly forced to move from the hospital to an abandoned building. Slowly weakening, but still massively strong, she fought through the illness with the help of doctors provided by Thor; as a result, the Absorbing Man repented to Thor, bowing to the new Lord of Asgard.[volume & issue needed]

During Christopher Priest's run on Deadpool, Titania appeared as a roommate of Deadpool and the supervillain Constrictor,[28] but was later revealed to be the shapeshifter Copycat.[volume & issue needed] However, she was indeed originally intended to be the real Titania, but the Copycat explanation was meant to resolve the continuity conflict with Dan Jurgens' cancer storyline simultaneously occurring in Thor.[29]

However, Titania proved unable to stay away from She-Hulk, and after she recuperated from the illness, underwent an intense physical regimen to boost her abilities. However, She-Hulk had done so more efficiently, briefly reaching levels almost approaching those of the Hulk himself. Battered and inadvertently humiliated by her, Titania was offered the chance at revenge after obtaining the Power Gem, one of the legendary Infinity Gems, from its former owner, the former Champion of the Universe, now known as the Fallen One because of his own defeat at the She-Hulk's hands. The Fallen One had agreed to cease using the Power Gem as a condition of his defeat, but was free to gain his own revenge by proxy through Titania. After an initial defeat by the newly empowered Titania, She-Hulk tricked her into believing that she had killed the Jade Giantess in a second battle; Titania's initial rush of triumph suddenly melted into uncertainty, as she realized that her life now had no meaning or focus without the object of her obsessive hatred. She-Hulk (in her normal form as Jennifer Walters) then took advantage of Titania's confusion to pluck the Power Gem from the criminal's forehead, and proceeded to use the Gem's power to knock Titania out with a single punch.[30]

Titania was incarcerated in the Lang Memorial Penitentiary, a.k.a. the Pym Experimental Prison #2, a prison in which superhuman inmates are shrunk with Pym particles to less than an inch in height, to reduce both their chances of escape and their threat to guards and the public if they do escape, since inmates can only be returned to their full size by prison technicians or the few others who have access to Pym particles.[volume & issue needed]

In Fantastic Four #547, Titania appears as a member of The Wizard's Frightful Four, battling the Fantastic Four on Saturn's moon, Titan. In She-Hulk (vol. 2) #21, she is shown having been returned to the Pym Experimental Prison. In the next issue, having escaped (though still shrunken to diminutive size), she is reunited with the Absorbing Man, and clashes again with She-Hulk. Titania is last seen being thrown into the mouth of a shark.[volume & issue needed]

Thanks to her body's resistance, she survived this as Madrox and his team were later seen following Titania, whose husband, the Absorbing Man, suspects of adultery.[31]

She apparently returns to her usual life of crime as at the dawn of the Heroic Age, she's back in the female section of the Raft, where, apparently oblivious of Creel, is shown actively commenting along with other female inmates the prowess of the new warden Luke Cage. However, Luke Cage agrees to induct only Moonstone in his new team of Thunderbolts leaving Titania behind.[32]

"Fear Itself"[edit]

During the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, one of the seven Hammers of the Worthy lands near Titania. When she lifts it, she becomes Skirn: Breaker of Men.[33] She then helps Creel find his own hammer in the capital of hell. When they find his hammer, they come across a well known thief who has a personal history with Titania's alter ego Skirn. The thief tries to take the hammer as his own, but Skirn quickly defeats him. War Machine, Iron Fist, and their allies appear and try unsuccessfully to keep the hammer from Creel, who becomes Greithoth when he grasps it.[34]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Thanks to cellular augmentation through radiation, Titania possesses immense superhuman strength that originally enabled her to match individuals such as the Thing, but later increased after performing rigorous prolonged weight-lifting training,[35] and rivals her nemesis, She-Hulk.

Titania's muscles produce considerably less fatigue toxins than the muscles of an ordinary human, granting her superhuman levels of stamina.

Titania's body is also highly resistant to physical injury. She can withstand high caliber bullets, temperature extremes, falls from great heights, and severe blunt force trauma without sustaining injury.

Titania also possesses extensive experience in street-fighting techniques.

Other versions[edit]

Amalgam Comics[edit]

In Amalgam Comics, Titania is combined with Big Barda to form Big Titania.[36]

Earth X[edit]

Titania plays a role in Earth X, in an attempt to calm down a rampaging Absorbing Man in the climatic battle[volume & issue needed]

House of M[edit]

Titania is a member of the Hood's gang.[37] She was the only survivor of the Red Guard's attack against the Hood's super-villain team that chosen to defy Magneto's House of M.[38]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Titania appeared in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "The Skaar Whisperer", voiced by Clare Grant. She is seen with Absorbing Man and the Wrecking Crew escaping from the Vault. Titania is defeated by She-Hulk. In the episode "Monsters No More," Titania appears as a member of the Leader's 'Agents of C.R.A.S.H'.

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Captain America #319
  2. ^ Punisher vol. 7 #5
  3. ^ Usenet posting by Christopher Priest explaining the origin of Titania's name
  4. ^ She-Hulk (vol. 1) #10 (2004)
  5. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3
  6. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #3
  7. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #4
  8. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6
  9. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #7
  10. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8
  11. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11-12
  12. ^ Avengers #273
  13. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #283
  14. ^ Avengers #275
  15. ^ Solo Avengers #14
  16. ^ Fantastic Four #326-328
  17. ^ Fantastic Four #333
  18. ^ Web of Spider-Man #59
  19. ^ Web of Spider-Man #64-65
  20. ^ Captain America #389-392
  21. ^ Thor #436
  22. ^ Thor #447-448
  23. ^ Thunderstrike #16
  24. ^ Avengers Unplugged #4
  25. ^ Marvel Valentine's Special
  26. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #429
  27. ^ Heroes for Hire #17; Thor vol. 2 #14; Fantastic Four vol. 3 #22
  28. ^ Deadpool 3rd series #38, March 2000
  29. ^ Comixfan forum post by Christopher Priest explaining why Titania was written out of Deadpool.
  30. ^ She-Hulk Volume 1, Issue 12, April 2005
  31. ^ Second Coming Revelations: X-Factor #204
  32. ^ Thunderbolts #144 (2010)
  33. ^ Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade von Grawbadger (i). "The Worthy" Fear Itself 2 (July 2011), Marvel Comics
  34. ^ Iron Man 2.0 #6 (2011)
  35. ^ She-Hulk vol. 3, #10
  36. ^ Bullets and Bracelets #1
  37. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #1
  38. ^ House of M: Masters of Evil #4

External links[edit]