Agatha Harkness
Agatha Harkness and her familiar, Ebony
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceFantastic Four #94 (January 1970)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
SpeciesWitch
Team affiliationsThe Daughters of Liberty
PartnershipsFantastic Four
Scarlet Witch
Notable aliasesProf. Emeritus Harkness
Abilities

Agatha Harkness is a character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Fantastic Four #94 (January 1970). Agatha Harkness is a powerful witch and one of the original witches from the Salem witch trials.[1] She is depicted as the governess of Franklin Richards, an ally of the Fantastic Four, a friend and mentor of the Scarlet Witch / Wanda Maximoff, and the mother of Nicholas Scratch. Agatha Harkness has also been a member of the Daughters of Liberty.[2]

Kathryn Hahn portrayed Agatha Harkness in the 2021 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) miniseries WandaVision, and is set to reprise her role as the star of the spin-off series Agatha: Darkhold Diaries.

Publication history

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2021)

Agatha Harkness debuted in Fantastic Four #94, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.[3]

Fictional character biography

1970s

Agatha Harkness was introduced as the governess of Franklin Richards.[4] She easily fended off the Frightful Four when they came to abduct Richards, and admitted to the Fantastic Four that she is a witch.[5][6] She then aided the Fantastic Four in battle against Annihilus.[7]

Through the actions of her son Nicholas Scratch, she was revealed as 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 persuaded its inhabitants that Agatha betrayed the community's secrets by working for the Fantastic Four. She was abducted and taken back to the community with Franklin to stand trial.[8] The Fantastic Four followed and came into conflict with Salem's Seven, Agatha's grandchildren 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.[9] Agatha became the magical tutor for the Scarlet Witch in the use of witchcraft.[10]

Scratch and Salem's Seven returned, and Agatha foiled their attempt to conquer the world.[11]

1980s

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 destroyed. Following hints from Agatha's astral form, Wanda channeled the remaining energy to become pregnant with twin children of Vision, her android husband.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

2000s

"Avengers Disassembled"

Further information: Avengers Disassembled

Wanda, again having no memory of her children, angrily confronted Agatha about their existence. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. found what appeared to be Agatha's corpse in her home and concluded that Agatha had been dead for a long time.[15] Some time later, a partially amnesiac Wanda tells Clint Barton she is under the care of her "Aunt Agatha" in a small apartment.[16] However, this version of Wanda was later revealed to be a Doombot that replaced the real Wanda at some point.[17]

Ghost life

Agatha has since made her presence known in the New Multiverse as a ghost. She appears to Wanda and confirms her death at the hands of her protégé.[18] She also concurrently serves as the omniscient narrator of Vision's ongoing solo title, having induced precognitive visions through an arcane ritual involving the murder of Ebony at some undetermined point before her death.[19] 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 her and Wanda's paths are intertwined, Agatha chooses to have some time to herself to enjoy being alive again.[20]

2020s

The Daughters of Liberty

Agatha Harkness later appears as a member of the Daughters of Liberty where she taught magic to its members. At the time when Captain America figured out that Dryad is a revived Peggy Carter, Agatha teleported herself to inform him that the threats that the Daughters of Liberty have been facing are connected with Aleksander Lukin's sister Alexa.[21] Agatha later briefed the Daughters of Liberty's latest recruit Shuri about the situation involving Selene having Sharon Carter's soul. She then proceeded to transport herself, Sharon's Iron Patriot appearance, and Shuri to where Selene is located.[22]

Midnight Suns

During the battle with Corina (now calling herself Korrosion), a gigantic explosion of energy was unleashed due to the Black Mirror's destruction and neither Korrosion or Agatha Harkness were anywhere to be found. But, it turns out that the explosion have sent them back to their homeworlds where they belong. With her youth restored, Agatha had been gone into hiding ever since.[23]

Restoring the Darkhold

After taking out Necrodamus before he could launch an attack on Scarlet Witch, Agatha goes to meet her at her new Emporium witchcraft shop. The two exchange some small talk before Agatha brings up the topic of Chthon (which was sealed inside her soul) and the Darkhold (which Wanda had absorbed). Scarlet Witch thinks she's strong enough to take on this burden, while Agatha believes otherwise as she has become aware of several threats looming in the shadows looking to take advantage of Wanda. The two then have an interesting witch-fight that ends with Agatha conceding defeat. However, part of Agatha Harkness' fight against the Scarlet Witch was secretly about gaining access to the Darkhold trapped in Wanda Maximoff's soul. While Scarlet Witch is busy fending off attacks, Agatha slithered her way inside and ripped out Chthon's heart.[24]

Powers and abilities

Agatha Harkness is a powerful magic user,[25] as well as an expert in arcane knowledge.[26] She can manipulate magical forces for numerous effects, such as psychokinesis, levitation, and the tapping of extra-dimensional energy,[27] by invoking beings or objects existing in vast dimensions tangential to Earth through spell recitations. Even as an old woman, Agatha has lived much longer for centuries, but left her unable to perform strenuous tasks.[28][29] Later, she somehow got de-aged back to the prime of her life.[30]

Ebony

Agatha owns a familiar black cat named Ebony.[31] She possesses the capability to transform into a large ferocious wildcat with mystical senses. Ebony was sacrificed so her owner could gain precognitive powers.[19] However, she is later resurrected through unknown methods.[21]

Reception

Critical response

Deirdre Kaye of Scary Mommy called Agatha Harkness a "role model" and a "truly heroic" female character.[32] The A.V. Club ranked Agatha Harkness 38th in their "100 Best Marvel Characters" list.[33] Screen Rant ranked Agatha Harkness 7th in their "Scarlet Witch's 15 Most Powerful Enemies" list,[34] and 8th in their "Marvel's Most Powerful Magicians" list.[35]

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Main article: Agatha All Along

Brady Langmann of Esquire ranked Agatha Harkness 4th in their "Best Characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" list.[36] Slashfilm ranked Agatha Harkness 8th in their "Most Powerful MCU Villains" list.[37] Ben Saffle of Comic Book Resources stated, "Agatha Harkness has gained a fandom following her antics on WandaVision. The popularity of the witch is cemented by her receiving her very own show, Agatha: Darkhold Diaries."[38] Richard Fink of MovieWeb wrote, "The character has become incredibly popular, with the song Agatha All Along going viral and [...] has gained a loyal fanbase, in part thanks to Hahn's incredible performance and this is why she is excellent as Agatha Harkness."[39]

Impact

The character of Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood was named after Agatha Harkness.[40]

Other versions

Ultimate Marvel

An alternate version of Agatha Harkness appears in Ultimate Fantastic Four. This version is a young woman and claims to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. psychologist sent to evaluate the Baxter Building think tank.[41] It is later revealed that her S.H.I.E.L.D status was faked and she is really an ancient empathic being that destroyed Atlantis.[42] 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.[43]

In other media

Television

Video games

References

  1. ^ Harth, David (June 7, 2020). "Marvel Comics: The Strongest Magic Users, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Megan Nicole (September 26, 2020). "Every Member Of The Daughters Of Liberty, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  3. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  4. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 144. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  5. ^ Fantastic Four #94. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ Sacks, Jason; Dallas, Keith (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 978-1605490564.
  7. ^ Fantastic Four #109-110. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Fantastic Four #185. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Fantastic Four #186. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ The Avengers #128. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #14. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Vision and the Scarlet Witch vol. 2 #3. Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ Avengers West Coast #51. Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ Avengers West Coast #60–62. Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ The Avengers #503. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ The New Avengers #26. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Scarlet Witch vol. 2 #1. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ a b The Vision vol. 2 #6. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Scarlet Witch vol. 2 #14. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ a b Captain America vol. 9 #19. Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Captain America vol. 9 #22. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ Midnight Suns vol. 1 #4-5. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ Scarlet Witch Annual #1
  25. ^ "10 Most Powerful Marvel Magicians". Marvel.com. December 20, 2018. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  26. ^ Baird, Scott (September 26, 2016). "Marvel's 15 Most Powerful Magical Superheroes". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2022-08-21.
  27. ^ Greenbaum, Aaron (2021-02-26). "Why Is Agatha Harkness So Powerful?". Looper. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  28. ^ Knox, Kelly (February 21, 2021). "Agatha Harkness: WandaVision's Other Marvel Witch Explained". IGN. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  29. ^ Harth, David (February 26, 2021). "WandaVision: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Agatha Harkness". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  30. ^ Midnight Suns Vol 1 #5 (March 2023). Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ Allan, Scoot (September 16, 2019). "Marvel's 10 Most Skilled Magic Users, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  32. ^ Kaye, Deirdre (November 16, 2020). "Looking For A Role Model? These 195+ Marvel Female Characters Are Truly Heroic". Scary Mommy. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  33. ^ "The 100 Best Marvel Characters Ranked: 40-21". The A.V. Club. 2022-07-07. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  34. ^ Harn, Darby (2021-11-03). "Scarlet Witch's 15 Most Powerful Enemies, Ranked". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  35. ^ Harn, Darby (2021-02-26). "WandaVision: How Agatha Harkness Ranks Against Marvel's Most Powerful Magicians". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  36. ^ Langmann, Brady; Miller, Matt (May 20, 2021). "The Best Characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ranked". Esquire. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  37. ^ Laman, Douglas (2022-07-26). "The Most Powerful MCU Villains Ranked". SlashFilm.com. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  38. ^ Saffle, Ben (2021-12-29). "10 Best Magical Systems In Marvel Comics, Ranked". CBR. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  39. ^ Fink, Richard (2022-05-27). "Here's Why Kathryn Hahn is Perfect as Agatha Harkness". MovieWeb. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  40. ^ Barrowman, John (2006-10-21). "Jonathan Ross". BBC Radio 2 (Interview). Interviewed by Jonathan Ross.
  41. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #54. Marvel Comics.
  42. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #56. Marvel Comics.
  43. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #54-57. Marvel Comics.
  44. ^ "Voice Of Agatha Harkness – Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Check marks indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  45. ^ "Voice Of Agatha Harkness – Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Check marks indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  46. ^ Opie, David (February 19, 2021). "WandaVision's big Agnes reveal solves not one but two huge mysteries". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  47. ^ Paige, Rachel (July 23, 2022). "SDCC 2022: All of the Marvel Studios News Coming Out of Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  48. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (November 12, 2021). "'Agatha: House Of Harkness': Disney+ Confirms Series Order Of Kathryn Hahn 'WandaVision' Spinoff". Deadline Hollywood.
  49. ^ Sandoval, Andrea (February 27, 2023). "10 Best Marvel Snap Cards In Pool 3". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  50. ^ "Voice Of Agatha Harkness – Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Check marks indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)