Mary MacPherran was born prematurely in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. As a result, she grew up frail and diminutive, earning her the nickname "Skeeter" (slang for mosquito) from Vanessa Ashwood, a girl at her school. Mary's physique left her subject to horrific bullying her entire childhood, even to the point where she had to take menial jobs just to survive. Mary became deeply resentful and bitter in response, and fantasized about gaining super powers to become admired, and revenge on her tormentors who included Vanessa.
One day, after the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman appeared in their town, Mary's only friend Marsha Rosenberg remarked to her that this superheroine's reddish-blonde hair color matches Mary's. Mary responded by falsely revealing to Marsha that she is secretly Spider-Woman. Immediately Mary's fortunes changed and she was invited to a party at Vanessa's house. It becomes apparent that new found popularity was due to Marsha spreading around the false Spider-Woman rumor. Suddenly, the powerful being the Beyonder chose to rip their section of Denver from the Earth to become a part of the composite planet Battleworld - a stage for his planned battles between Earth's heroes and villains. The party now in disarray, the real Spider-Woman arrives on the scene to save the guests from a collapsing structure. The lie revealed to all, Vanessa and her guests are furious and turn on Mary and Marsha, chasing them into the forests of Battleworld.
Doctor Doom, looking for new metahuman allies to further his ambitions, happens upon the terrified pair. Mary and Marsha both agree to Doom's offer of power in exchange for serving in his army of supervillains, becoming the powerful Titania and Volcana respectively. Using the alien technology of Doombase, Mary was made into the polar opposite of her former self: tall, superhumanly strong, muscular, proud and arrogant.
Titania was introduced as a new character in Secret Wars #3 in July 1984, created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck, but her full backstory had to wait until She-Hulk #10 in 2005, where her origin was shown in flashback.
Major Story Arcs
Titania's transformation and the now-boundless confidence that came with it led her to act out, throwing a pile of red-hot slag created by Volcana through a wall and challenging Carl "Crusher" Creel, the Absorbing Man, to a fight which he refused, claiming that he had "nothing to prove...to a dame."
Under Doom's orders, Titania fought the superheroes Thor, the X-Men and the She-Hulk, which started starting a long rivalry between the two women.
The heroes later stormed Doombase to rescue She-Hulk, bringing Titania face to face with Spider-Man. Spider-Man's speed, agility and experience were too much for her powerful but still-novice abilities. After he threw her through an exterior wall, Titania's attitude and newfound arrogance vanished and left her fearful of Spider-Man for some time.
While still on Battleworld, the Absorbing Man and Titania began a relationship. Titania's needy side made her somewhat dependent on Creel at this point. When Owen Reece, the Molecule Man, managed to seal off Titania's part of Denver and begin to navigate it back to Earth, Crusher and Titania decided that they were done with Doom and his war and simply wanted to go home.
Back to Earth
Once back on Earth, Absorbing Man and Titania joined Baron Zemo and his latest incarnation of the Masters of Evil and were sent to recruit Moonstone while the rest of the team attacked the Avengers Mansion. A bored Titania decide to rob a jewelry store but was interrupted by the arrival of Spider-Man. Titania fled to LaGuardia Airport and had Crusher Creel fight on her behalf. Creel, seeking a way out, forced Spider-Man to leave by threatening to destroy a plane full of innocent people.
Crusher and Titania were next sent to kill Hercules, who was in hospital following a previous fight with the Masters of Evil. Scott Lang as Ant-Man and the Wasp helped Hercules defeat the two villains, stinging Crusher Creel and shrinking Titania to the size of Wasp. Titania was imprisoned in the Vault, a superhuman penitentiary.
Later, Iron Man decided to destroy or disable all enhanced armor types based on stolen Iron Man designs. The Guardsmen who were The Vault's wardens were a necessary target of these Armor Wars. Iron Man's fight with the Guardsmen accidentally caused a power failure, and allowing Titania and Mister Hyde to escape. The Captain (Steve Rogers, who had been temporarily prevented from operating as Captain America at the time) captured Mister Hyde, but Titania was able to escape.
Titania's rivalry with She-Hulk led to several battles between the two. Finally defeated, Titania agreed to return to jail.
Going back to his original plan when he started the Frightful Four, Wizard wanted a female to fight Sue Storm. Titania was freed from jail again by the Wizard, Klaw, and Hydro-Man and the group became the new Frightful Four. Her first appearance with the Frightful Four was in Fantastic Four #326-328. The villains fought the Fantastic Four and were victorious at first thanks to Professor Gregson Gilbert's creation Dragon Man, and the assistance of Aron, the Renegade Watcher, but were defeated in a second bout. Aron then froze both teams in suspended animation and used clones of the Fantastic Four to act out adventures he wanted to see. Eventually both teams broke free with, Aron convinced to watch the dreams of his clones instead. He also sent the Frightful Four back to The Vault, as a service to the Fantastic Four.
Loki and the Wizard were the next villains to free Titania in Loki's Acts of Vengeance plan. Doctor Doom revealed to a horrified Titania that she would have to fight Spider-Man. Doom was able to use her pride and anger to permanently overcome her fears of Spider-Man--unfortunately he had temporarily bonded with the Uni-Power, making him Captain Universe, and he was able to knock Titania unconscious in one massive energy burst. This event finally ended Titania's fear of Spider-Man, however.
Graviton, the Trapster, and the Brothers Grimm were all humiliated by Spider-Man as Captain Universe as well. They recruited Titania, along with Chameleon and Goliath in a revenge attempt. Once again, Spider-Man came out on top, with Titania defeated by a collision with a speeding bus.
When the supervillain Superia appeared, seeking fellow young and super-powered women to join her in creating a female-ruled Earth by launching sterilizing missiles from an island base, Titania joined Superia's Femizons. Captain America and the Paladin were able to thwart this scheme, sending Titania back in to the arms of her old flame--the Absorbing Man. The two then fought the Eric Masterson Thor. When Thor injured Titania in their battle, Creel confessed his love for her, which she gladly reciprocated. Seeing this, Thor allowed them to get away.
The odd couple were mismatched in their attitudes however, with Crusher attempting to live a normal life, but Titania still robbing jewelry stores. Creel collaborated with Thor in a ploy to scare her straight involving a Guggenheim exhibit. Spider-Man and a special police unit (Code: Blue) complicated things, but ultimately Titania remembered her love for Creel.
Drawn to an AIM convention in Boca Caliente, Titania joined with the Abomination and Gargantua to battle the Town Called Hulk; 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. In their new life, the pair seemed not to be able to stay under the radar, assuming the guises of Thunder Girl and Lightning Bolt in order to hunt Spider-Man for the reward offered by Norman Osborn (while also 'stealing the thunder' of the then-newly-formed Thunderbolts, whose real identities they knew from their time working with most of them in the Masters of Evil).
Despite contracting severe skin burns as a result of this escapade, this was not the end of the pair's villainy; committing more robberies, Titania also clashed repeatedly with She-Hulk, including when she and Luke Cage went on a date at a fancy restaurant that Mary and Creel were attempting to hold up (only to learn that the restaurant only took credit cards).
Illness and Recuperation
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.
However, Titania proved unable to stay away from She-Hulk, and 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. The 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.
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; even if they do escape, the inmates can only be returned to their full size by prison technicians or the few others who have access to Pym particles.
Titania has since appeared once again as a member of The Wizard's Frightful Four, battling the Fantastic Four on Saturn's moon, Titan. Titania and her Frightful Four teammates captured the Invisible Woman on Titan and they render her helpless. Titania shows her viciousness by telling the Wizard that they must kill the girl. Fortunately for the lovely blonde, The Wizard insists on keeping Sue alive. Her Fantastic Four teammates eventually come and free her and the Frightful Four are then defeated.
Shrunk to a tiny size she is then shown having been returned to the Pym Experimental Prison. Titania yet again manages to escape (though still shrunken to diminutive size), reuniting with the Absorbing Man, and clashes again with She-Hulk. Titania is last seen being thrown into the mouth of a shark.
In Fear Itself, Titania and Absorbing Man are seen in Brazil working in a quarry, when one of the hammers of the Worthy falls from the sky. Absorbing Man fails to lift the hammer, and is even unable to absorb it. Titania grabs and lifts it, transforming her into Skirn, Breaker of Men. Possessed by the entity within the hammer, she then tells Absorbing Man that they must now travel north for him to find his own hammer. The two find themselves in China where Creel's hammer is waiting for him, but so are James Rhodes, The Immortal Weapons and the Monkey King who wants to challenge the Absorbing Man for the power of the Worthy. After Skirn knocks him away the Absorbing Man manages to lift up the hammer and becomes Greithoth: Breaker of Wills. They go on to battle The Avengers Academy in Dubai and combine their powers to destroy the Avengers Infinite Mansion before they are called by the Serpent for their final battle with the Avengers and The Mighty. Titania and the Absorbing Man were both depowered following the defeat of the Serpent and went into an almost withdrawal-like state with the loss of their hammers, needing them close by when they were imprisoned in the Raft.
After being locked up in the Raft, Titania showed to still have a connection with the Manbreaker and knowing that Crossbones and the Thrul Society were coming for the hammer. Soon, Crossbones and his men appeared and attacked Luke Cage and the rest of the Thunderbolts and stole the Manbreaker and escaped.
Powers and Abilities
Titania’s physical strength is tremendous, placing it on the highest echelons of the Marvel Universe. Her strength, from the moment she was empowered by Doctor Doom, was at a level that rivaled mainstays such as She-Hulk and The Thing which she then continued to increase through vigorous and relentless weight-training. Her current level of physical strength is unknown but is expected to be greater than that of She-Hulk’s.
Titania also possesses an extreme level of endurance and stamina as well as a body that is exceedingly difficult to injure. She can endure extremes in temperature, crashing into the planet from low Earth orbit, and severe physical trauma before sustaining injury. While Titania has also recovered from cancer to rise to even greater levels of physical power, it is unknown if she possesses any regenerative capabilities.
Prior to becoming Titania, Mary had an intense inferiority complex. When she was first introduced during the Secret Wars she went out of her way to prove she was tougher than many of the heroes and villains on Battle World. She took great pride in thrashing the She-Hulk. When she attempted to smash a group of heroes she had her first encounter with Spider-Man. Despite all the power that Doctor Doom granted her, she could not manage to hit the wallcrawler. Even a strike that sent debris his way did not stop him for long. Ultimately, his speed, strength and taunts were too much for her and he tossed her out of the building sending her crashing into the ground. Her last words before passing out were, "It's not fair".
That defeat left her completely terrified of Spider-Man and any time she came in contact with him (such as during the Acts of Vengeance saga) she would cower in fear. Doom had to use a chip to suppress her fear so that she could fight him. Eventually, she was able to overcome this phobia but she has not yet defeated him.
In Other Media
Titania appears in the episode "Small Time Heroes," voiced by Clare Grant.