Friday, June 8, 2018

Titania Strikes Back!

During the events of Secret Wars, the villain well known as Dr. Doom supplemented his forces by using the advanced machinery he'd discovered to endow two willing subjects with abilities and powers which made them forces to be reckoned with--a status which others before them have embraced, though none more so than Skeeter MacPherran.

And the woman called Titania does indeed get the chance to prove her might, when the heroes also trapped on the Beyonder's world attack their foes' fortress while coming to the aid of the embattled She-Hulk. Yet instead of overwhelming the equally well known hero who takes her on, Titania learns a harsh lesson in both overconfidence and underestimating her opponent that will remain with her well after her return to Earth.

But where other villains have bounced back from prior defeats (and stints in prison) to menace anew, Titania was among those who became gun shy about meeting other super-powered opponents in battle once more--particularly Spider-Man, who seemed to deal with her without effort. Considering how arrogant Titania was, out of the gate, we could rightly assess how the mighty have indeed fallen.

Yet in her rematch with the wall-crawler, one thing that may tip the odds in her favor is the fact that this time, her boyfriend's come to the party!

With Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, by her side, is this the day when Titania gets her moxie back?

A sub-plot of this story has Peter Parker searching for the missing Flash Thompson, on the run from the police after having been accused of being the nefarious Hobgoblin and subsequently becoming a fugitive following his unwilling participation in a jailbreak. In addition, Peter intends to give up his costumed identity, feeling he can no longer cut it as Spider-Man. The story by Tom DeFalco touches base on those issues briefly (and throughout), before opening the curtain to the threat that readers were likely plunking down 75¢ to find out more about--with one-half of that threat currently knocking over a jewelry store, where she catches sight of the one person she'd hoped never to cross paths with again.  And while Titania isn't aware of it, for Spider-Man the feeling is mutual.

At this point in time, Titania and the Absorbing Man are operatives for the Masters of Evil, who under Zemo's leadership are out to crush the Avengers. Holed up at a posh hotel while assigned to meet a contact at La Guardia Airport that night, Creel can't help but observe that Titania hasn't grasped the concept of "lying low"--while approaching from outside, Spider-Man's spider-sense has enabled him to track Titania to their location.

As Spidey departs to notify the Avengers, he's spotted by Creel, at which point Titania spills the beans about her encounter with him in the streets. Playing it safe, they decide to relocate to accommodations far less plush than their prior hotel, until it's time to make their pickup.

Elsewhere, Peter, while not exactly abdicating his responsibilities in regard to two at-large super-criminals, nevertheless decides that the Avengers are made to order for this kind of work, whereas he has more pressing concerns demanding his attention. Yet back at their hotel, Titania doesn't have the luxury of assuming that she and Creel have seen the last of Spider-Man's involvement--and so she begins to make plans of her own as to dealing with him once and for all.

As for Spidey, a conversation with Mary Jane Watson does little to assuage Peter's guilt at having punted to the Avengers regarding the handling of Creel and Titania--and so he decides to stay on their tail and see what develops at their airport rendezvous. (Which is just as well, since the Avengers have in the interim become occupied with the siege of their mansion by the Masters.)  This time, it's Titania who spots him--and she wastes no time in putting her plan into effect.

Now committed, Spider-Man begins an all-out battle with the pair, one that intensifies when Titania decides to join the fight in earnest after seeing Creel collapse under Spidey's assault. But though she doesn't realize it, Titania receives help in overcoming her peculiar brand of arachnophobia when it comes to Spider-Man--after which, Creel secures the bargaining chip he needs to bring this fight to an end.

A Titania with newfound confidence, while no doubt a greater asset to the Masters of Evil, is probably something none of her future opponents will want to see; in fact, Spider-Man may have inadvertently made it possible by withdrawing as he did.  Titania and Creel lucked out in catching Spider-Man in the state of mind he's currently in, second-guessing himself at every turn and feeling he's screwing up more often than not. Creel's ultimatum to Spidey couldn't have been delivered at a better time, and it certainly served its purpose where Titania was concerned. Creel ended up being the perfect one to turn Titania around--not simply because of his relationship with her, but also because he's taken enough lumps from super-heroes in the past to know what it means to lose your resolve around them (his dealings with the Hulk being one such example). Spider-Man's crisis in resolve, however, continues.

Amazing Spider-Man #283

Script: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inks: Bob Layton
Letterer: Joe Rosen & Co.


Anonymous said...

There seems to be a warm, romantic side of Crusher Creel we had not seen before. Perhaps he absorbed a Barry Manilow record by accident.


lordjim6 said...

Titania claims he absorbed her heart. I will now see myself out.

Comicsfan said...

While it's nice to see that even a hardened ex-con like Creel can soften when it comes to love, M.P., I don't expect him to mellow on the battlefield anytime soon. For instance, I didn't for one minute think he wouldn't follow through on destroying that passenger jet.