Agatha Harkness was old enough to remember 500 years before Atlantis sank to the bottom of the sea (purportedly c. 10.500 BC). Back then, she had contact with the cosmic being Scrier, who had promised her that he would return whenever needed, only to be apparently destroyed. Although Scrier resurrected, Harkness gave him up for dead at the time.
Salem Witch Trials
In the 17th century, Harkness settled in the English colony of Salem, Massachusetts. She formed her own coven of witches hoping to freely practice magic in the New World. In 1692 A.D., she and her group were persecuted by the Puritans during what became known as the Salem Witch Trials. She encountered the Mutant hero Firestar when she was accidentally sent back in time while fighting the Sphinx. Believing her to be a witch the Puritans tried to burn her at the stake. She fought back but was saved by Agatha leading her to safety. Agatha revealed that she approved of the trials, believing them necessary for the magical people to grow stronger; she even sent some of her coven to cull the weak. She asked Firestar to join her but she refused. Firestar begged Agatha to find another option. Her pleas did not fall on deaf ears and Agatha agreed and settled the town of New Salem, a secret magical community in what would be known Colorado.
She became the most powerful sorceress in this community, and later its grande dame or leader. Agatha was involved in turning over various sorcerers to the witch-killing authorities, on the grounds that she was strengthening the witch community by ridding it of those who could not defend themselves. The fact that New Salemites referred to outsiders as "mortals" may indicate that they had longer lifespans than human beings. The identity of her husband was unknown and it was not even known whether Harkness was her late husband's last name or her maiden name. Agatha and her husband had only one child together, the warlock known as Nicholas Scratch (which was perhaps his assumed name).
At the end of the 18th century during the American Revolutionary War, Harkness joined the Daughters of Liberty, a group of women fighting for justice in the new world. She used her centuries of knowledge to train them in the mystical arts.
Department of the Uncanny
At the end of World War II, she was recruited by U.S. Army Major Alan Dakor, alongside The Ghost Dancer and Emerald Warlock, to join the Department of the Uncanny and help stop the threat of Hilda von Hate.
Agatha Harkness became a governess, tutoring children in need, though she eventually retired. But when the Fantastic Four contacted her to ask her to watch their newborn baby, Franklin Richards, she agreed immediately, once she considered who his parents were.
When the heroes first brought Franklin to her house atop Whisper Hill, she invited them in to spend the night, as it was too late and too stormy for them to return home. Though once The Thing and the Human Torch had settled down, the Thing fell through a swivelling painting in his room, and straight into the clutches of the Frightful Four. The evil four soon captured the rest of the Fantastic Four, but they soon faced Agatha Harkness, whom they underestimated. She warned them that her cat Ebony’s hackles were up, but the Wizard ignored her warning and attacked. The cat transformed into a massive panther and soon sent him fleeing out of the window, where he smashed into a tree and was knocked unconscious. The Sandman and Trapster attacked moments later, but Agatha turned the Sandman’s body into rock and used her magic to convince the Trapster that the newly-freed Thing was a monstrous, demonic creature, wherein he fainted dead away in fright.
The rest of the Fantastic Four soon recovered, as the Frightful Four’s weapons crumbled to dust minutes before, thanks to Agatha. They rushed to locate the baby, and found him in Agatha’s care, sleeping soundly. Before they also went to sleep at her behest, Ben Grimm spied a book entitled Tales of Old Salem on an end table. Agatha taunted him with the possibility that she was a witch, which sent him running down the hall to his own room.
Agatha became Franklin’s permanent governess afterward. She took Sue and Franklin into her home when the Atlanteans attacked New York. When Sue tried to surprise Franklin by trying to sneak up on him while invisible he was somehow able to see her. She told Agatha, but she dismissed it, leaving her to suspect her of keeping some kind of secret from her. Agatha later contacted Sue during the middle of a fight to come to help her son. Agatha then revealed her mystical powers to save Reed Richards. Reed and Sue thanked Agatha for saving him from the Negative Zone and Sue and Franklin returned to Whisper Hill. Sue left Franklin again with Agatha's care as she went to help Reed again. Agatha contacted the team to warn them of the danger of the Overmind. She then helped them contacted the watcher at his Citadel. She then told them to contact Doctor Doom for help. She warned them again of danger with the arrival of Air-Walker. Reed asked Agatha to help link minds with the President of the United States to convince the threat of Galactus was over. Agatha went on a secret trip and returned Franklin to his parents. Agatha soon tried to help Franklin when his powers started to emerge. Agatha then used Franklin's powers to destroy Ultron.
Through the actions of Nicholas Scratch, she was revealed as a member of the previously unknown New Salem colony of witches. Scratch had taken control of the town and had persuaded its inhabitants that Agatha had betrayed the communities' secrets by working for the Fantastic Four. She was abducted back to the community along with Franklin so that she might be put on trial. The Fantastic Four followed and came into conflict with Salem's Seven, who was Agatha's grandchildren through Scratch. The Fantastic Four eventually won out and freed Agatha. In the process, the community of New Salem was shown the evil of Scratch and he was banished to another dimension. Scratch tried to escape multiple times to get his revenge on the Fantastic Four. Each time they were assisted by Agatha, who eventually disowned Scratch.
Eventually, Salem's Seven took over the New Salem community again. They captured Agatha and killed her by burning her at the stake. 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. Wanda channelled the remaining energy to set in motion her becoming pregnant with her synthezoid husband's children.
Later, Agatha resurfaced, avoiding explanations for her return. She claimed that Scarlet Witch's children were actually fragments of the soul of Mephisto and wiped Wanda's memory of her children rather than fight to free the two from Mephisto when he reabsorbed the two.
She went on to aid other mystics in a number of crisis situations, and trained Wanda further in the use of her powers, claiming that her mutant ability was actually to use "chaos magic" and helped fully resurrect the Avenger Wonder Man.
Harkness ultimately died a second death, this time for good, after Wanda confronted Agatha about her children. Later, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. found Agatha's corpse in her home, as Scarlet Witch had murdered her teacher in cold blood.
Sometime later, a partially amnesiac Wanda told Clint Barton (who had tracked Wanda to a small village near Wundagore Mountain) that she was under the care of her "Aunt Agatha" in a small apartment. While Wanda was sleeping, Hawkeye, curious of this Aunt's true identity, tried to turn the doorknob to her room. The knob appeared to slip from his hand, similar to Wanda's past subtle probability manipulations. Wanda also mentioned this Aunt to Beast, saying she was stuck out there for purposes of looking after an "elderly relative" who would worry if she got home late.
Agatha was resurrected when Natalya Maximoff sacrificed her soul to revive the Goddess of Witchcraft, and returned to living on Wundagore Mountain. After killing Ebony to fulfill the requirements of seeing the future via using the Wundagore Everbloom, she had a hallucination in which the Vision was covered in blood standing above his dead allies.
At the time when Captain America was suspected of murdering Thunderbolt Ross, Agatha Harkness joined up with the Daughters of Liberty. She trained it's members in the ways of magic. Agatha was sent by Peggy Carter to confront Captain America when he found out that she was alive as Dryad. She told Captain America that the threats that the Daughters of Liberty were facing were linked to Alexa Lukin. When Shuri was recruited into the Daughters of Liberty, she mentioned that Agatha briefed her on the situation involving Selene and Sharon Carter's soul. After Sharon donned her version of the Iron Patriot Armor, Agatha teleported herself, Sharon, and Shuri to Selene.
Powers and Abilities
Sorcery: The ability to tap this universe's infinite store of ambient magical energy and manipulate these to a variety of effects. A skill derived from three major sources: personal powers of the mind/soul/body, powers gained by tapping the universe's ambient magical energy and employing it for specific effects and finally, powers gained through the tapping of extra-dimensional energy by invoking entities or objects of power existing in mystical dimensions tangential to her own. The latter means of power is usually gained by the recitation of incantations. Some of these effects include forming magical energy bolts with a high degree of potency and control, erecting energy shields or screens with a high degree of durability to both physical and magical damage, creating illusions, teleportation across the face of the Earth or into a mystical dimension, thought-casting over short or vast distances in a manner virtually identical with telepathy, levitation, and astral projection.
Spells and Phrases: Agatha has a vast knowledge of mystical spells and incantations invoking names and aspects of various extra-dimensional objects and beings of power. Through these incantations, the magi are able to call upon these extra-dimensional power sources for very specific effects without taxing the personal abilities.
- Agatha has no known fighting skills. Her old age reduces her ability to perform strenuous tasks.
- Familiar: Her familiar, a cat named Ebony, is in reality a powerful extradimensional creature. Harkness is in psychic rapport with the cat, and she occasionally uses it to run errands for her. At will, it can revert to a more intimidating form with monstrously powerful claws, and increased strength and speed. The creature regenerates damage at a fantastically accelerated rate and cannot be killed by means less extreme than dispersing its atoms throughout a considerable area.
- Agatha is a citizen of the United States with no criminal record. However, she has been condemned by the populace of the community of New Salem, Colorado, which considers itself an independent nation.
- Once married, though it is unknown whether she is now divorced, separated, or widowed.
- 141 appearance(s) of Agatha Harkness (Earth-616)
- 10 minor appearance(s) of Agatha Harkness (Earth-616)
- 23 mention(s) of Agatha Harkness (Earth-616)
- 17 image(s) of Agatha Harkness (Earth-616)
- 4 quotation(s) by or about Agatha Harkness (Earth-616)