Mary MacPherran was born prematurely in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, growing up as someone looked down upon by most of her peers and nicknamed “Skeeter” (a slang word for mosquito) by a popular girl at school called Vanessa Ashwood because of her scrawny build. Her only real friend was Marsha Rosenberg, who was similarly unpopular, in her case for being awkward and overweight. Consistently mocked and humiliated since childhood by the wealthy Vanessa and her social clique, Mary (and Marsha) had to take menial jobs to survive. Mary grew bitter over her hard life, and fantasized about something improbable in her favor such as winning the lottery. These fantasies soon turned to gaining superpowers to be admired, and to exact revenge on her tormentors.
When the second Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter began to make appearances in Denver, Rosenberg remarked that her hair was the same color as Mary’s. Mary falsely confided in her friend that she was secretly Spider-Woman, and when Rosenberg spread the rumor, Mary saw her popularity grow and was invited to a party by Vanessa and her clique.
In the midst of the party, however, their suburb of Denver was ripped from Earth and used by the alien Beyonder to create the makeshift planet Battleworld. When the real Spider-Woman arrived on the scene and saved the guests from falling debris, Vanessa and her friends realized they’d been duped and chased MacPherran and Rosenberg into the forests of Battleworld. Frightened and exhausted, the two young women were found by the villain Doctor Doom. Doom was looking for recruits for his army of supervillains, and offered the girls the chance of gaining superhuman powers. The girls accepted Doom’s offer.
Using the highly advanced alien technologies found in “Doombase”, the appropriately-named villain’s headquarters, powered by immense energies from a ferocious alien storm outside, Doom recreated 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 taller, muscular, and buxom than average. She now had an incredibly high level of superhuman strength and durability. The transformation had somehow also made clothes for her, as like most superpowered woman, she now wore a leotard. Also a polar opposite to her unpowered self was her speaking style, whereas before she had a small high-pitched whisper, her new voice was big and booming, albeit still notably feminine.
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 she had strength like a titan, was proud, and confident, perhaps to extremes. No sooner had Volcana melted some machinery into a large pile of red-hot slag, Titania had 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.”
After gaining powers she was introduced to the other villains that were assembled there on the planet including her future husband the Absorbing Man. Titania began to work for Doom in earnest, battling the superheroes. She soon made an enemy out of Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk. Titania did not know it, but this would be the beginning of a long rivalry.
Yet, when the heroes later stormed Doombase to rescue She-Hulk after Titania and her allies had beaten her senseless, Titania tried to face up against veteran super-hero Spider-Man; despite her massive strength and durability advantages, Spider-Man’s highly superior speed, agility, and long experience in fighting against more powerful foes, allowed him to not only dodge her attacks, but to be able to attack her with impunity, culminating in throwing her through an exterior wall. During this fight, Titania’s attitude and newfound arrogance quickly evaporated, giving way to what Spider-Man called the “whining little wimp-ette” inside – it was clear that the arrogance could only last while Titania had the upper hand, otherwise a reversion to her previous character would occur. Mindful of this beating, Titania would harbor a fear of Spider-Man for quite some time after.