Agatha Harkness just went through a startling transformation
Marvel just made some big changes to Agatha Harkness
Something magical has happened to Agatha Harkness. Marvel's resident witch recently got a makeover, increasing her powers and giving her a bold new look. Now she's ready to take on the world, and with Agatha Harkness that isn't hyperbole.
What happened to Agatha, and where does she go from here?
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Midnight Suns #5!
Who is Agatha Harkness?
If you’re unfamiliar with Agatha Harkness or you only know her from the MCU, then let’s start with a refresher on who she is.
Agatha Harkness was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #94 (1969). She was introduced as an elderly woman who was hired to be the governess of Franklin Richards, the son of Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards. However, the new parents did not suspect that they were putting their infant in the care of a witch. Luckily for them, Agatha was a good witch. When the villainous group known as the Frightful Four attacked, Agatha used a series of enchantments to make quick work of them.
Later issues would reveal that Agatha had been around far longer than anyone suspected. Nova #6 (1994) flashed back to Agatha’s days in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe implies that she has been around since before the sinking of Atlantis.
Agatha became an ally to the superhero community, assisting them against magical threats. She formed a close bond with the Scarlet Witch, helping the young heroine learn to hone her abilities. When the Scarlet Witch began to lose her grip on reality, it was Agatha who helped her put those pieces back together.
Agatha Harkness made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the Disney+ series WandaVision, with Kathryn Hahn portraying Agatha, who initially disguised herself as a wacky neighbor named Agnes. The MCU version of Agatha took on a more villainous role than her comics counterpart, attempting to harness the Scarlet Witch’s magic for herself. Agatha’s villainous nature was revealed in a song called Agatha All Along, which quickly went viral on the social internet. Hahn will reprise her role as Agatha Harkness in the upcoming Disney+ series Agatha: Coven of Chaos.
What happened to Agatha Harkness in Midnight Suns #5?
Recently Agatha Harkness has played a central role in the mini-series Midnight Suns, from Ethan Sacks and Luigi Zagaria. The storyline focuses on a group of students studying magic at Strange Academy. Think of it like Hogwarts, except it’s in the Marvel Universe. Agatha Harkness took a teaching position at Strange Academy, hoping she could use it to rebuild her witch coven.
Of course, when it comes to magic in the Marvel Universe, there is always going to be conflict. An evil witch named Korrosion attempts to take over the world with an army of shadow demons known as Vapors. Midnight Suns #5 features the climactic showdown between Agatha and Korrosion, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Agatha stabs Korrosion with a mystical red knife, and begins drawing her power away.
“This power belongs in the hands of someone more responsible. Like me,” Agatha says with a wicked smile. The energy becomes too much for Agatha to hold, and she explodes in a flash of light, taking Korrosion with her. The students and faculty of Strange Academy grieve for Agatha, and return to school.
However, magic is all about misdirection.
How Agatha got her groove back
It turns out that Agatha is far from dead.
In fact, she’s looking better than she has in centuries. The final page of the story reveals that unbeknownst to the students and faculty of Strange Academy, Agatha survived her battle with Korrosion. No longer an elderly woman, Agatha is drawn as a grinning young woman. “We must leave the past behind us and focus on the future. A future that I, Agatha Harkness, will make,” she declares.
What’s the deal with Agatha’s new look? Could this be time-travel, an alternate universe doppelganger, or another bit of magic trickery? The likely answer is that the power she received from Korrosion caused Agatha to de-age. She now looks identical to the younger version of her who we saw during flashbacks in Midnight Suns #2-3 (2022). (It’s worth noting that Silver Surfer #135 (1997) established that Agatha was blonde during her younger years, while Midnight Suns depicts her as dark-haired. However, in a world of magic and mutants, it isn’t hard to imagine the many ways Agatha could have changed her hair color.)
It's possible that Marvel de-aged Agatha Harkness so she could be a closer match to her popular MCU counterpart. Marvel previously did this when they replaced the main continuity Nick Fury with his son Nick Fury Jr, who was a visual match for Samuel L. Jackson. Marvel also de-aged Captain America’s wartime sweetheart Peggy Carter, and began drawing her to resemble her MCU actress Hayley Atwell. This new version of Agatha may not be a dead ringer for Kathryn Hahn, but she’s certainly a closer visual match.
Since the MCU has raised Agatha Harkness’ profile, Marvel might be looking to put her front and center in the comics as well. A younger and more powerful Agatha would certainly be one way to do it. The question is, will she continue to be a heroine, or go down a more villainous route like her MCU counterpart? Perhaps Korrosion’s power did more than de-age Agatha, maybe it corrupted her.
The future for Agatha Harkness might be uncertain, but it’s shaping up to be exciting and magical.
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