Agatha Harkness' Newfound Youth, Explained
Why does Agatha Harkness look so young? Revisit the events of 'Midnight Suns,' which gave the sorceress her youth back, before she causes mystical mayhem in 'Contest of Chaos!'
For centuries, Agatha Harkness has been a sorceress full of surprises, one who always has a trick or three up her sleeve. Her latest feat, however, is a real change of pace for the witch: she’s young again.
After averting a magical apocalyptic event with the Strange Academy staff in MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022), Agatha wound back the clock by centuries to reclaim her youth. Now youthful and possessed of new, even darker magicks, she is poised to cause a little mayhem of her own in the upcoming crossover CONTEST OF CHAOS.
Before Harkness uses her magic to pit Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against each other for her own shadowy ends, let’s take a look back at how the master sorceress came to be young again—and why that spells trouble for the Marvel Universe.
AGATHA HARKNESS AT STRANGE ACADEMY
When Doctor Strange founded the Strange Academy to educate and foster the next generation of magic users, he recruited some of Earth’s most powerful and prolific magicians to instruct the young students. Even after his passing, spellcasters like Magik, Nico Minoru, Doctor Voodoo, and Agatha herself continued educating and guiding students.
However, in MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) #1 by Ethan Sacks, Luigi Zagaria, Antonio Fabela, and VC's Joe Sabino, the entire school was shown a vision of dark, mist-like creatures ending the world four days into the future, seemingly thanks to student Zoe Laveau. Not long after the vision, those same mist creatures attacked the school, causing Zoe to flee in fear. While other instructors tried to stop and reassure her, Harkness was the one who managed to get Zoe to safety—by spiriting her away to an unknown location.
As it turned out, those dark monsters, Zoe Laveau, and Agatha Harkness had a long history together. The mist beasts were actually the Vapors of Valtorr, a common spell magic users often used to protect themselves by summoning a potent sliver of the demon lord Valtorr’s power. It was actually Agatha and her coven—which included witches from the Laveau and Minoru families—who first invoked the dark being into service in 1428, forming a kind of agreement that would allow generations of magicians to use his power freely to escape persecution.
However, magic is never truly free; it always comes at a price. Agatha surmised that the Vapors which attacked Strange Academy were sent by Valtorr, finally coming for his due. Knowing from experience the horror that would ensue if such a powerful being made itself at home on Earth, Agatha enlisted Zoe to help her stop the coming apocalypse. As a descendant of her former coven sister and the scion of the family who possessed the Black Mirror—the only portal into Valtorr’s realm—Zoe was uniquely positioned to help.
A WITCH'S REVENGE
As with all things magic, the mission was not as simple as smashing the mirror and saving the day. In 1428, when Agatha’s coven decided to invoke Valtorr to escape persecution, it was Zoe’s ancestor, Jaquette Laveau, who led the ritual. She was eager to use the Vapors of Valtorr to cleanse the Earth of all non-magic users, but she mentioned too late that Valtorr would require a sacrifice from among them to do his work. He chose the weakest of them, a compassionate witch named Corina, and sealed her on the other side of the Black Mirror.
Agatha lashed out at Jaquette to try and undo the sacrifice, but only succeeded in damaging the mirror, which interrupted the ritual, cut off Valtorr’s protection, and did nothing to save Corina. Harkness tried once more to save her sister by personally venturing into Valtorr’s realm, but was forced to leave Corina behind as the corrosive mists of his domain made her too weak to continue on. Corina did not forgive her for this.
In the present, inside the Laveau family crypt in New Orleans, Zoe and Agatha intended to destroy the mirror, only for Agatha to become possessed by Valtorr’s right hand, Korrosion, via the relic. Using her, Korrosion and their Vapors escaped onto Earth. This was when Agatha realized Korrosion was none other than Corina herself, empowered by years of sapping Valtorr’s power until he was nothing but a husk. Infuriated that Agatha abandoned her, Corina bided her time in Valtorr’s realm, stealing and storing power so that she could eventually complete the ritual the coven began in 1428 and cleanse the world of non-magicians.
Through the mirror, Agatha and Zoe saw a world in which she succeeded—a hollow place left dead and without heroes. But, thanks to a variety of magical goings-on, the Spirit Rider was able to project her spirit into that timeline and tell Zoe to share a vision of it with everyone involved with the Midnight Suns, so that they might prevent it in their reality. This vision was the same one that kicked off the Midnight Suns’ journey, but it also gave Agatha the foresight to bring a particular relic to the final battle.
After the Midnight Suns defeated Corina, Agatha cornered her in the castle that was once home to their coven. Using the relic, she drained Corina of Valtorr’s power—and took it for herself. In the ensuing explosion, they both disappeared and, while Corrina was sent back to what was once Valtorr’s realm, Agatha reappeared away from her allies, hiding her newfound youth.
Thanks to the events of Midnight Suns, Agatha has not just gained a rejuvenated body, but she now also has the additional might of a demon lord. If the events of SCARLET WITCH ANNUAL (2023) #1 by Steve Orlando, Carlos Nieto, Triona Farrell, and VC’s Cory Petit are any indication, the creation of a new Darkhold is key to Agatha's plans—which means the Marvel Universe is in for some legendary magical mayhem.
Follow Agatha Harkness' dark machinations for CONTEST OF CHAOS starting in SCARLET WITCH ANNUAL #1, on sale now!
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