Hey everybody, welcome to another character spotlight, right here in Marvel Snapshot! In this week’s installment, I’ll be focusing on one of Marvel’s weirdest, witch-iest (yeah, I know that isn’t a word) women in Agatha Harkness! She’s a virtual icon in Fantastic Four history, and we’ll be looking at her past right here today! She was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1970 (Fantastic Four #94).
Agatha Harkness is a centuries old witch who has an unrevealed origin. What we do know is that she was there in the 17th Century, in Salem Massachusetts, when the trials were happening. She later left that area, and along with most of the townspeople created a new town called “New Salem,” in the elevation of Colorado. She then married and bore a son, Nicholas Scratch. She eventually left the town to travel the outside world to investigate. First, she acquired an old mansion in the hills of New York, called Whisper Hill. There, she trained all sorts of young magical apprentices. She then felt the immense power that resided in Franklin Richards, so she used magical means to coerce the Fantastic Four into hiring her as Franklin’s nanny. She kept her origin and abilities a secret, though.
As Agatha watched over young Franklin, she later decided to take Wanda Maximoff under her wing, as well. She assisted in Wanda’s training because her powers were getting to be out of control. Wanda had some dark magic from Chthon inside her (unbeknownst to her), and Agatha knew this could potentially be very dangerous to everyone, so she tried to quell the problem. She trained Wanda, but also made her forget about her two “children” that had been lost. Initially, the training helped, but in the end, Wanda spun out of control mentally, and depowered most of Earth’s mutants (during House of M).
Before all that, though, Agatha returned to New Salem after a falling out with Sue Richards. When she came back, she was attacked by her son and his children. They somehow blocked her powers and then burned her at the stake. They believed that she brought trouble from the outside world to New Salem, but the FF convinced them that Scratch was the problem, and they banished him to another dimension.
During the Avengers story line “Celestial Madonna,” Agatha, along with Wanda and Mantis, were kidnapped by Kang the Conqueror, because he believed one of them was going to bear a child that would usher in the new world and be the most powerful being on Earth. In short, it turns out to be Mantis (thank the Heavens for that), and not Agatha. To briefly return to the House of M story from earlier, after Wanda’s mental breakdown, Nick Fury discovered what appeared to be the decayed body of Agatha, giving the impression that she had died quite some time ago. More recently, when Hawkeye went searching for Wanda, he found her in a remote town, acting like an amnesiac. She did, however, reveal that she was quite happy living the simple life with her “Aunt Agatha.”
As usual, check out my recommended reading list along with some great covers of books Agatha has appeared in! See you next time!
Essential FF vol. 5 – Tpb
Essential FF vol. 6 – Tpb
Fantastic Four: Visionaries: George Perez vol. 1 – Tpb
Avengers: Celestial Madonna – Tpb
Silver Surfer (1987) – #135-137
Avengers: Disassembled – Tpb