Agatha Harkness’s History
Shielded from the world by magic, several centuries passed. Agatha married and gave birth to a son, Nicholas Scratch, but she eventually decided to leave the witch city and reconnect with the world outside, feeling that a society that hid itself was doomed to a slow death. She acquired an aging home known as Whisper Hill, in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, and trained talented and powerful children such as Jack Holyoak in the use of their abilities. Agatha eventually retired, but sensing the potential power level of Franklin Richards, son of the Fantastic Four’s Susan and Reed Richards, deliberately drew the Richards’ attention and they hired her (initially unaware of her status as a witch) to be nanny to young Franklin. She protected Franklin during his infant years, and eventually revealed her abilities to the team when she used her magic to save Reed after he became trapped in the Negative Zone, though she still kept her origins a secret. She would aid the team repeatedly, employing her sorcery to seek knowledge of the Overmind from the Watcher, to enable Reed to speak simultaneously to every human on Earth in their native tongues, and to transport the team back to Earth after Annihilus forced her to aid in kidnapping Susan and young Franklin into the Negative Zone.
When Franklin was briefly left comatose she was his primary caretaker, but once he awoke she resigned her position and immediately began tutoring Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch, who needed training to manage her unstable powers. Wanda had been raised in the shadow of the demon Chthon, and her mutant powers were in part Chthonic magic which she had little to no control over; Agatha hoped training her in magic would help stabilize Wanda, though she hid the origin of Wanda’s powers from her. She trained Wanda until Wanda married the android Vision, at which point Agatha realized that the young mutant had accepted all the training that she would at that time.
Back in New Salem, Agatha’s son Nicholas Scratch had in turn fathered seven children, who would become the super-powered “Salem’s Seven.” With his children’s help, Scratch led New Salem’s population to believe that Harkness’ presence in the outside world was a danger to the city and ordered Agatha’s capture, abducting young Franklin Richards as well when they took her. The Fantastic Four came to the rescue and eventually convinced the town that it was Scratch’s kidnapping of Franklin that had endangered their secrecy and drawn the Four there, not Agatha’s actions. Scratch was banished to another dimension by the townspeople but soon returned and briefly possessed the Fantastic Four and much of New York before Franklin stopped him; Agatha covered it up by casting a spell that altered the memories of the entire city. After her son returned yet again and possessed young Franklin, Agatha decided that she was a threat to the child, and chose to remain permanently in New Salem. However, Salem’s Seven apparently managed to remove Agatha’s access to her powers and she was burned at the stake by her grandchildren.
An astral Agatha reappeared immediately thereafter to her former pupil Wanda, leading her and the Vision to defeat Salem’s Seven and then counseling Wanda on how to conceive children. Agatha told Wanda that she had indeed died, and then aided her when the demonic Samhain (the embodiment of All Hallow’s Eve) attempted to influence the unborn children. However, not long after the children were born Wanda went though a series of emotional trials, losing her husband and falling under the control of That Which Endures, a collective that tried to use her to bond with all mutantkind. Worried about Wanda, Agatha reappeared, alive, and began caring for Wanda’s newborn twins. When the children were apparently revealed to be merely demonic fragments of the Hell-lord Mephisto, Agatha intervened and altered Wanda’s memories to allow her to cope with her loss. Agatha remained with Wanda for the next several weeks during which time the already fragile Wanda was kidnapped first by her father Magneto and then by the time-master Immortus; Agatha’s magic revealed Immortus’ ongoing plan to imbue Wanda with power he wished to manipulate. Agatha was able to restore Wanda’s memories of herself, her friends, and her lost husband and children and enable the Avengers to stop Immortus’ plot. She remained with the Avengers until Wanda regained her full strength and mental stability, restoring the transformed Tigra to humanity while the Scarlet Witch recovered.
When the Magus (the dark counterpart of Adam Warlock) threatened the universe, Agatha joined with Wanda and fellow mystics Dr. Steven Strange, AKA Doctor Strange, Michael Twoyoungmen, AKA Shaman, and Anthony Druid to oppose him. An alternate Doctor Strange, the Necromancer (a native of the High Evolutionary’s now-destroyed Counter-Earth), intervened against the group, and Agatha was forced to briefly meld her soul with that of her familiar, Ebony, to survive the fight.
Her involvement in the conflict against the Magus brought her back to the Fantastic Four’s home, where she sensed that Franklin’s immense powers were again threatening to overwhelm him. To aid Franklin, she returned to her role as his governess. She was drawn briefly away to Wanda’s aid when a Darkhold prophecy involving the Scarlet Witch’s lost children led to her brief possession by Chthonic energies, but Agatha, Doctor Strange, and the Darkhold Redeemers prevented the foretold destruction. Returning to Franklin Richards, Agatha was unable to prevent the child’s powers from overwhelming him and she ultimately allied with his grandfather, Nathaniel, to send the child to the future where he spent many years mastering his powers before returning as a grown young man to the very instant in time from which he had left. His mother Susan angrily turned on Agatha, ordering the witch never to return to the Fantastic Four, and Agatha retreated to Whisper Hill.
Wanda again came to Agatha for aid when Lore, an extradimensional nexus being, attempted to drive Wanda insane, and Agatha helped her former pupil to defeat Lore. Agatha reconciled with Susan Richards a few months later when Franklin, restored to childhood, was kidnapped by Onslaught and Agatha was able to bring word that he still lived. Immediately thereafter, however, both the Fantastic Four and the Scarlet Witch were apparently killed (they were actually merely trapped in a pocket dimension), and an exhausted Agatha retired again to Whisper Hill.
When the Silver Surfer subsequently became infected with a soul virus, she sensed the danger to Earth that he was becoming and summoned him and his friend Alicia Masters to her Whisper Hill estate. With the aid of Scrier, an enigmatic and incredibly powerful being whom Agatha had once encountered 20,000 years in the past, she purged the virus, but the Silver Surfer “died” in the process. She and Scrier quickly resurrected the Surfer, though as a result Agatha was briefly possessed by Mephisto before Scrier wrenched the demon’s essence from her and temporarily banished it from Earth.
The Scarlet Witch returned from the pocket dimension in which she and the Fantastic Four had been trapped for several months, but was almost immediately exposed to the magics of Morgan Le Fay. The after-effects of this caused Wanda’s powers to increase dramatically, and Agatha helped Wanda deal with this, warning her of the dangers of her being unable to control the underlying Chthonic magic (which Agatha referred to by the less threatening term of “chaos magick”). Shortly thereafter, Agatha worked with Wanda and fellow mystics Dakimh, Mechamage, Margali Szardos, Khalid Inshallah, and Jules St. Thomas against the menace of Ego the Living Planet, though the threat was ultimately driven off through non-mystical means.
Despite Agatha’s years of effort, the Scarlet Witch’s mind destabilized over time as her power levels increased and she even forgot that she had ever had children. Agatha attempted to care for Wanda and keep her as stable as possible, but when the Wasp inadvertently reminded her of her lost children Wanda’s mind snapped. She began attacking the Avengers through the creation of simulacra of friends and foes from her own life. With the help of Doctor Strange, the Avengers eventually realized that Wanda was responsible, although she had apparently altered some of Strange’s memories making him no longer aware of the apparent fate of Wanda’s children. Wanda was defeated, and in the aftermath Nick Fury discovered a desiccated white-haired corpse, which appeared to be a long-dead Agatha. The Scarlet Witch vanished some time later and when Hawkeye subsequently located her, Wanda lacked all memory of her life with the Avengers and was apparently again in the care of her “Aunt Agatha.” The true status of Agatha Harkness, be it living, dead, or simulacra, remains to be seen.