Perfect 10 is a series of essential recommendations that fully encapsulate a comic character – 10 desert island picks of runs, single issues, arcs, etc – curated by Comfort Food Comics.
You can’t have a Perfect 10: Absorbing Man without one for his constant partner in love, crime, heroics and everything in between, Titania!
- “Court Costs” from Solo Avengers #14: By Chris Claremont, Alan Davis, Josef Rubinstein, Paul Bectin & Tom Orzechowski. We featured this one on The Podcast and I declared this one the best & most perfect She-Hulk story ever published but it ALSO functions as a pretty perfect Titania story. She-Hulk is going to plead a case before the Supreme Court when Titania, ol’ Mary MacPherran, shows up outside just bashing shit in order to mess with Shulkie and get a good fight going. Jen uppercuts her miles away but Titania comes back. She then is promptly walloped on the head, sending her into the ground. But she gets out and then She-Hulk punches her into a car. All these fights lead to Jen having her case postponed. Sadly, she leaves the courthouse only to have Titania pick up a van and slam it down on her. Shulkie, in no mood anymore just beats the tar out of her in a full splash page of explosions and sound effects. Titania finally learns her lesson and goes quietly. This one is so good because Titania is really so simple at heart. She’s a tough as nails broad who wanted power and when she got it uses it in the most charmingly simple way – to roughhouse for her own amusement.
2. Illuminati #1-6: By Joshua Williamson, Shawn Crystal, John Rauch, Joe Caramagna & more. This was a fun little series of perpetual loser The Hood recruiting yet another team of supervillains to reach the top again. In actuality, this was just about Titania’s first solo series. She plays such a huge part in this, first torn in joining the team and then being it’s moral compass and main member. You get an amazing Jane Foster Thor fight in Issue #4 that is so cathartic and so in character after that awful issue Aaron wrote featuring Titania. Issue #5 deals with Titania breaking her Absorbing Man out of Pleasant Hill during Avengers: Standoff! And the end issue is all Titania as she calls it quits with this venture after The Hood plans to terrorize the families of the people he needs to deal with. Mary says they don’t mess with families and ends up beating The Hood and ripping his titular namesake apart in the process. This series just really serves up quality content for both Titania and the Absorbing Man while making you really empathize and root for her.
3. “The Greatest Gift” from Marvel Valentine Special: By Tom DeFalco, Dan Lawlis, Jeff Albrecht, Adam Gallenta & Jack Morelli. This one is hilarious and adorable. This is after Titania and Absorbing Man marry and theyre trying to lay low and live a regular life in the burbs. Absorbing Man is out trying to buy a vintage Millie the Model doll for Titania for Valentine’s Day when a couple of punks brandish a gun and try to rob the toy store he’s in. They start poking fun at him and he reveals himself to be The Absorbing Man and they bolt while the cashier tells him to take the doll and his money and everything else. Creel, exasperated just wants to pay for his doll and go home when the police roll up say he must be on a crime spree and start shooting. Meanwhile at home, Titania is watching TV, bored out of her mind when she sees a special bulletin on the brou ha ha that’s surrounded her husband. Angry, she enters the scene asking why he’s having all this fun without her before they trash the place and bolt. As they pack up their things to go on the lam she kisses him and jumps into his arms exclaiming how happy she is that he gave her some excitement for Valentine’s Day. It’s such a humorous, touching look at their unusual relationship.
4. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars: By Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, Bob Layton, John Beatty, Christie Scheele, Joe Rosen & more. The insane, fantastical origin of Titania. When the heroes and villains of Earth are whisked to a patchwork Battleworld made of various planets by the otherworldly omnipotent Beyonder, so too comes a patch of suburban Denver along with timid, normal girl Mary MacPherran and her friend Marsha Rosenberg. During the grand cosmic battle, Dr. Doom finds these women and gives them superpowers. The weak Mary becomes the now super strong Titania and ends up becoming one of the main characters of Secret Wars. It’s funny how fully formed she comes out of the oven. You instantly get she was weak woman and now revels in being a powered up knockout. Her personality is firmly in place. She almost instantly starts flirting with the Absorbing Man. She gets her ass beat by Spider-Man, showing she does still have that fear and weakness inside as she develops a phobia about him. And by the end her and Absorbing Man hook up and have had enough of all of this nonsense and just want to go home. This book develops her so well and defines most of her stories forever going forward.
5. Amazing Spider-Man #283: By Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Bob Layton, Bob Sharen & Joe Rosen. This is a really great one where Titania robs some diamonds and Spider-Man happens upon her escape. She still has the deep Secret Wars beatdown phobia over Spidey and runs away to hide but Pete tails her back to the hotel she’s supposed to be laying low at with the Absorbing Man because they are working with the Masters of Evil at this time. Titania gets a plan in her head to manipulate Creel into killing Spider-Man and gets her chance during a job where they’re to pick up a villain recruit at LaGuardia airport that night. She goes off plan when she sees Spidey and causes a ruckus so the Absorbing Man will bring the hurt down on the wallcrawler. Spidey ends up knocking out Creel, which allows Mary to push past her phobia to save her man. While Titania and Spider-Man duke it out, Creel grabs a boarded plane as hostages and says you already ruined our plan, just let us go. Spidey resigns himself to the predicament and leaves while Titania and Absorbing Man mack on each other then bolt. They’re so great.
6. Thunderstrike #16: By Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Al Milgrom, Mike Rockwitz & Janice Chiang. One of the fun things about Eric Masterson is that he and the Absorbing Man started up a sort of friendship during DeFalco’s run on Thor and Thunderstrike. During this time period, the Absorbing Man and Titania are supposed to be going straight, but Titania keeps pulling crimes because she’s tortured by being beat by She-Hulk. During their first fight she absolutely destroyed Shulkie, but since then she’s been handed her ass over and over and it’s giving her a complex that’s making her act out. To help his wife, Absorbing Man calls Thunderstrike and asks if he could talk to She-Hulk and set up a fight between the two of them while they go grab some beers. It’s every bit as fun as it sounds. Tom DeFalco is a MASSIVELY underrated comics writer.
7. Sensational She-Hulk #52: By Michael Eury, Todd Britton, Mike DeCarlo, Glynis Wein & Brad Joyce. Titania is only in this one for the first half but it’s a really fun romp. She-Hulk is trying on some lingerie at “Libido’s” when she overhears Titania yelling. Turns out Mary is trying to get a job here but they don’t want to hire her. This puts her in a bad enough mood that when Shulkie pops her head out she immediately starts throwing down. We get a very fun, cheesecakey fight between the two of them. This is during a storyline where Jen’s powers are out of whack and The Thing is sent to warn her but he arrives right as She-Hulk is getting beat by Titania. One of the real highlights here is The Thing calling Titania “Peg Bundy” before helping in the fight. She-Hulk in lingerie versus a supervillain Peg Bundy is to me, PEAK COMICS. This is a perfect definition of a Comfort Food Comic.
8.Web of Spider-Man #59: By Gerry Conway, Alex Saviuk, Keith Williams, Bob Sharen & Rick Parker. ACTS OF VENGEANCE!! COSMIC SPIDER-MAN!! This one drops during one of the alltime best periods in Marvel Comics history. Dr. Doom convinces Titania to go up against Spidey instead of She-Hulk and outfits her with this gizmo that changes her crippling fear of Spider-Man into uncontrollable rage. Hunting down Peter she starts to really go at him and is completely cured of her phobia but that’s the worst time for that happen because Spider-Man has all the amazing cosmic Captain Universe powers at his disposal and in a moment of frustration one shots her.
9. Immortal Hulk #18-23, #30: By Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Cory Petit & more. After Al Ewing used the Absorbing Man first as an adversary for the Immortal Hulk, he had him join the new Gamma Flight and has Creel ask if his wife, Titania can join too. We finally get to see her in Issue 18 and she and her husband have some pretty great moments in the big Abomination story in Immortal Hulk as seemingly permanent revolving cast members now. Ewing, just like with the Absorbing Man, just GETS Titania and there are single pages where he distills her dialogue and personality down perfectly so that even if this is your first Titania story you get her whole deal and really enjoy her as a character. The pair shows up again in the latest Issue 30 and don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. I will always be so elated Ewing took the decades long evolution of them from big bad supervillains to morally grey lovers with a hidden heroic side who just kinda want to look out for themselves and have lines they won’t cross. They will do the right thing when it counts, given trust and the chance.
10. Black Bolt #8-12: By Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward & Clayton Cowles. When I put this entire series on this list for Absorbing Man’s Perfect 10, I said this was basically an Absorbing Man series titled Black Bolt. This end arc here could be called a Titania comic too. Black Bolt returns to Earth, breaking out of his cosmic prison but his fellow ride or die homie the Absorbing Man is seemingly dead. Black Bolt decides he needs to go tell his wife Titania what happened. You then get several issues that are predominantly a look into Titania’s life as she copes with the loss, holds the Absorbing Man’s funeral and teams up to help Black Bolt fight the mysterious cosmic jailer that’s reappeared. Ahmed really gets the special sauce that makes the Absorbing Man and Titania such a fun couple and thankfully continues them down the path of slightly skewed heroism that I love.