Agatha Harkness

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #94
Place of Birth: New Salem, Colorado
Residential area: Adirondack Mountains, New York
Known relatives: Abby Harkness(?), Bluestreak
Occupation: Witch
Classification: Human
Marital Status: Widowed
Team Membership Status: Associate
Team affiliations: Avengers, Fantastic Four

Agatha Harkness is a talented sorceress. By tapping the ambient magical energy of the universe, she can enhance the physical and mental powers of herself and others, create specific effects upon objects and people and through incantations utilise magical objects and entities from this dimension or other dimensions that exist alongside her own.

Using these abilities she is able to create and control powerful bolts and shields composed of magical energy, create illusions, teleport through or between dimensions, 'thoughtcast' in a similar way to telepaths and also astrally project her form. She can also levitate herself and other objects.

While normally these abilites require a certain amount of physical and mental exertion, when using a magical object through incantation, she feels no such strain. Moreover, in these situations the only limit to her power is that of the object she is using.

As she is physically weak, Agatha often uses her familiar, Ebony, to run errands for her. While Ebony appears most of the time as a black cat, she is in fact a powerful extra-dimensional entity who can, at will, revert to a ferocious monster with powerful claws, greatly enhanced strength and a strong healing factor. Ebony appears to be at least partially sentient and shares a psychic raapport with her mistress.

Agatha can use many types of magical object, and has a high degree of knowledge of magical practices and artifacts.

Little is known of Agatha Harkness' past, other than that she appears to go back a long way in history. 18,500 years ago, she stumbled upon the hidden witches community of New Salem in Colorado. Over the millenia, she rose to prominence and power in the village, becoming the most powerful witch there. She claims to remember the sinking of Atlantis.

In the days of the witch hunters she handed over several witches to the authorities, claiming that she was strengthening the community by ridding it of those too weak to defend themsleves. It is around this time that she married an unknown man (Harkness maybe her married or maiden name) and had a son, Nicholas Scratch (which may be an assumed name). She may also be related to, or even be a woman called Abby Harkness who at some point fled New Salem with future Hellfire Club member Hiram Shaw.

By the mid 20th century she had moved into the outside world to associate with the mortals there. She moved into a mansion in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. It was here that her association with Earth's heroes began when she was visited by Reed and Sue Richards aka Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four. The two heroes had recently had a son, Franklin, who needed a super-human protector when they were away on missions. Learning of Agatha's powerful witchcraft they asked her to act as the child's babysitter, which she agreed to.

Unfortunately, Agatha and her charge were abducted soon afterwards by the children of Nicholas Scratch, the team called Salem's Seven. Scratch had duped his sons and daughters into believeing that Harkness had betrayed the village by revealing its location to the Fantastic Four. Harkness was put on trial and found guilty.

The Fantastic Four traced the abductees to New Salem where they were over-powered by Salem's Seven and imprisoned. They escaped and managed to halt Agatha's execution long enough to explain that if it were not for the abduction, New Salem's exisitence would still be a mystery. Realising that it was Scratch who had betrayed them, the New Salemites imprisoned him in another dimension.

Agatha, Franklin and the Fantastic Four later returned to New Salem to find that Scratch had taken control of all the villagers. Although defeated by Salem's Seven, Franklin (who had since developed psionic mutant powers) freed the village from Scratch's spell.

However the battle was not yet won. The Fantastic Four, Salem's Seven, Franklin and Agatha were all transported to New York where Salem's Seven intended to free Scratch from his dimensional prison. Scratch took control of the Fantastic Four but Franklin used his mutant powers to free them, while Harkness stripped her grand-children of their magical powers and returned them home. She then cast a new spell to more totally imprison Scratch. However, Salem's Seven leader, Vertigo, succeeded in turning the other New Salemites against Agatha. Regaining their powers, the Seven captured and burnt Agatha at the stake.

Harkness' disembodied spirit then apparently influenced Wanda Maximoff, the Avenger known as the Scarlet Witch to find New Salem. Journeying to New Salem with her husband the Vision, they were captured by Salem's Seven. Vertigo had become very powerful, now wielding the combined magical might of all 666 New Salemites. Despite this the Vision succeeded in defeating her. With the defeat, Vertigo lost all control of her powers. In an attempt to save New Salem, the Scarlet Witch began to channel the wild magical energy into a nearby mountain. Encouraged and told how to control the power by the spirit of Agatha Harkness, Wanda succeeded and the mountain exploded. With the magical energy gone, New Salem had been saved and Agatha's spirit disappeared.

Several months later, while working with the Avengers West Coast, Wanda began to encounter problems with her twin children, Thomas and William. Harkness appeared to her again, only now she was alive and mysteriously unharmed. She offered her services to Wanda as a nanny again, looking after and protecting her children.

While in this role, harkness realised the true nature of the children. Because Wanda was unable to concieve with her sythezoid husband she had used her own magical probability altering powers to create children that would take after both her and her artificial husband. As magical constructs of probability, the children only existed when their mother was thinking about them. To make matters worse, the children were also constructed out of missing shards of the demonic Mephisto's soul and were kidnapped by his servant Master Pandemonium.

Agatha immediately sent the Avengers West Coast to rescue the children with Ebony to accompany them. She also sent the recently revived original Human Torch to retrieve the remaining shards of Mephisto's soul. When all of the shards had been assembled, Mephisto appeared to the Avengers, threatening them. By causing Wanda to temporarily forget about her children, Agatha was able to stop parts of Mephisto's soul from existing, thereby defeating him. The victory however was not without cost. As the shards were now part of Mephisto again, Wanda had lost her children.

Agatha stayed on at the Avengers' West Coast Compound, helping wanda deal with the traumas that had been dealt her, and also helping Avenger Tigra regain her humanity after being transformed into an even more cat-like creature after her associations with the demonic cat-people.

Outside the Avengers West Coast she was one of the Earth-bound mystics during the Infinity War, helped the Darkhold Redeemers in their work with the Book of Sins and helped ressurect the Silver Surfer, finally revealing how old she really was.

Leaving the Avengers West Coast, she returned to her home on Whisper Hill. Here she began to encourage and tutor the Scarlet Witch in the full use of her chaos magic. The Avenger returned to Whisper Hill to see Agatha again when she was both puzzled and disturbed by her apparent ability to bring the deceased hero Wonder Man back from the dead. With Agatha's help, Wanda was able to fully restore Wonder man and remove him from the mental control of his mad brother the Grim Reaper. Agatha also opened Wanda's mind to her ture potential as a wielder of chaos magic.

Agatha was pressed into the service of Earth by Wanda once more in a failed attempt to stop the spore of Ego the Living Planet from consuming Earth when he was banished there by the Galactic Council.

Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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