|First appearance||Fantastic Four #94 (January 1970)|
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)|
Jack Kirby (artist)
|Abilities||Highly skilled magic user|
Agatha has been depicted as one of the original witches from the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. She somehow survived and later became a significant figure in Marvel continuity, protecting Franklin Richards as his nanny and notably mentoring Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) in real magic. Agatha was eventually killed by Wanda, who went insane. She also had a familiar named Ebony, a weird cat-like creature that could sense the presence of mystical beings.
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Fictional character biography
Agatha Harkness was first introduced as Franklin Richards' governess. She easily fended off the Frightful Four when they came to abduct Franklin Richards, and admitted to the Fantastic Four that she is a witch. She then aided the Fantastic Four in battle against Annihilus.
Through the actions of her son Nicholas Scratch, she was revealed as being a member of the previously unknown New Salem, Colorado, a colony of witches of whom she had been the leader. Scratch had taken control of the town and had persuaded its inhabitants that Agatha had betrayed the community's secrets by working for the Fantastic Four. She was abducted and taken back to the community with Franklin so that she might be put on trial. The Fantastic Four followed and came into conflict with the Salem's Seven, Agatha's grandchildren that were fathered by Scratch. The Fantastic Four defeated them and freed Agatha. In the process, Scratch's evil was revealed to the community of New Salem and he was banished to another dimension.
Scratch and Salem's Seven returned, and Agatha foiled their attempt to conquer the world.
Eventually Salem's Seven took over the New Salem community again. They captured Agatha and killed her by burning her at the stake, though Agatha soon made her presence known to Wanda in what appeared to be a post-death astral form. In an ensuing battle between the Scarlet Witch and Salem's Seven, the entire community's energies were drawn into Vertigo of the Seven, who lost control of them. Wanda managed to capture some of the energy and funnel it away, but the entire town was still decimated. Following hints from Agatha's astral form, Wanda channeled the remaining energy to become pregnant with her husband, The Vision's, children.
Later, Agatha resurfaced, again alive and well, when Wanda's infant children began exhibiting odd behavior (disappearing for brief periods of time) and Wanda became unstable after her husband's dismantling; Agatha provided no explanation for her return. After Mephisto claimed that Scarlet Witch's children were actually fragments of his own soul and reabsorbs them, Agatha briefly mind-wiped Wanda's memory of her children in an attempt to help her deal with the trauma. Agatha later restored those memories soon after when Wanda became a pawn in a complex plot by Immortus. Agatha aided the Avengers in their battle against Immortus.
In a sequence during the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, Wanda, again having no memory of her children, angrily confronted Agatha about their existence. At the end of that issue (occurring some time after Wanda and Agatha's confrontation), Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. found what appeared to be Agatha's corpse in her home and concludes that Agatha had been dead for a long time.
Some time later, a partially amnesiac Wanda tells Clint Barton she is under the care of her "Aunt Agatha" in a small apartment. However, this version of Wanda was later revealed to be a Doombot that replaced the real Wanda at some point.
She also concurrently serves as the omniscient narrator of Vision's ongoing solo title, having induced precognitive visions through arcane ritual involving the murder of Ebony at some undetermined point before her death.
Agatha fights alongside Wanda and the spirit of her biological mother, Natalya Maximoff against a physical manifestation of Chaos which is attempting to destroy witchcraft. The two spirits channel their magic through Wanda and, after Quicksilver is summoned, they manage to defeat the being once and for all although this has gravely wounded Order, the Goddess of Witchcraft. Natalya sacrifices herself to restore Order and, in doing so, also returns Agatha to life. Despite noting that hers and Wanda's paths are intertwined, Agatha chooses to have some time to herself to enjoy being alive again, opting to visit a nude beach, much to Wanda's chagrin.
Powers and abilities
Agatha Harkness derives her powers from manipulation of the forces of magic. She has the ability to manipulate magical forces for a number of effects, including teleportation, energy projection, and the tapping of extra-dimensional energy by invoking entities or objects of power existing in dimensions tangential to Earth's through the recitation of spells. Agatha also has the abilities of mesmerism, thought-casting, and illusion-casting. Agatha's age reduces her ability to perform strenuous physical tasks.
Agatha Harkness has a gifted intellect and a vast knowledge of magical lore.
Agatha has a magical familiar named Ebony, a pet cat with the ability to transform into a large, ferocious panther. She sacrificed Ebony at some point to gain precognitive powers.
The Ultimate Universe version of Agatha Harkness makes her debut in Ultimate Fantastic Four as a young woman. She first appears in #54, claiming to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. psychologist sent to evaluate the Baxter Building thinktank.
In issue #56, it is revealed that her S.H.I.E.L.D status was faked and she is really an ancient empathic being that destroyed Atlantis. Known as the Dragon-of-Seven or the Hydra, it can exist as a single creature or as seven seemingly separate ones. In her form as a group of seven individuals she posed as the superhero group Salem Seven.
In other media
- Agatha Harkness has appeared in a few episodes of X-Men: Evolution voiced by Pauline Newstone. Mystique brought her in to train Scarlet Witch. She is later seen telling Rogue and Nightcrawler how to save Mystique after Scarlet Witch hooked Nightcrawler up with her.
- Agatha Harkness has appeared in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "The Sorceress' Apprentice" voiced by Elizabeth Shepherd. Scarlet Witch and Vision visit her at the time when she is targeted by Nicholas Scratch and the Salem's Seven.
- The character of Captain Jack Harkness from the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood was named after Agatha Harkness.
- Fantastic Four #94
- Fantastic Four #109-110
- Fantastic Four #185
- Fantastic Four #186
- Avengers #128
- Fantastic Four Annual #14
- Vision and Scarlet Witch vol. 2 #3
- Avengers West Coast #51
- Avengers West Coast #60-62
- Avengers #503
- New Avengers #26
- Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2
- Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #1
- The Vision Vol. 2, #6
- Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #14
- The Vision Vol 2, #6
- Ultimate Fantastic Four #54-57
- Barrowman, John (2006-10-21). "Jonathan Ross". BBC Radio 2 (Interview). Interviewed by Jonathan Ross.