In the latest issue of WandaVision’s Wanda miniseries, breaking the fourth wall, revealed that future Westview resident Agatha Harkness is in fact classic Marvel character Agatha Harkness from the comics.
But who is Agatha Harkness? Wanda Vision introduced us to Agatha Harkness in issue #1, and while we don’t know much about her (including where she came from), we do know she is related to Wanda. But who is Agatha Harkness and what could she possibly be up to?
Agatha Harkness was born in 1796 in the United States. She was an orphan who was raised by her maternal grandmother as an only child. She is described as beautiful and smart, and is described as being obsessed with learning magic. Agatha was found studying under the tutelage of witch practitioner Natal as part of her initiation into the witchcraft community. As the years passed, her fascination with the dark arts blossomed, and she studied witchcraft at college with future Westview alumni Sue Stormer (Reducing Magick to Forget) andandra Hepburn (Scars of Authority).
Harkness is a passionate and talented witch who enjoys the finer things in life. It is shown through her studies that she loves music, plays the piano, and has many favorite musical artists that she follows. However, it is revealed in a conversation between Agatha and Dr. Curt Grant (aka Professor Xavier), that Agatha is more than a fan of magic, although she often uses her powerful mental powers to help others along in her personal quest for the good in the world. This quest often includes stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In addition to this, Agatha is shown as a ruthless villain, who engages in questionable activities such as attempting to poison the well that saves hundreds of homeless cats, and kidnapping humans for experimental medical purposes.
The character Agatha Harkness is an interesting creation in that she is one of only two original female characters (the other being Nancy Holder, who is a blond witch in the comics). In the television show, Harkness appears as the primary antagonist and is often shown as the stereotypical evil witch. This is contrasted with the more sympathetic role that Harkness is sometimes played in the British version of the character. For example, in the third episode of the series, Agatha Harkness is seen asleep during a reading at her grandfather’s bookstore, while a hooded figure sneaks into the establishment and attacks Harkness before attempting to rob him.
What fascinates me about Agatha Harkness is that she is both a powerful witch and a deeply disturbed witch. Although she tries to keep up appearances in public, her private life is far from smooth. In actuality, Harkness is a deeply disturbed mental patient that suffers from schizophrenia. In her mind, everyone around her is an extension of herself, and she uses a unique form of magic to manipulate people’s thoughts so that they think in terms of her prescriptions. However, her relationship with her father, Arthur, is complicated, because although he sincerely cares for Agatha, he also believes her to be possessed by the devil.
What separates Agatha Harkness from other characters in the westward bounderies, aside from her strange magic and mysterious circumstances, is that her secret is kept from the general public. Her real name is Mary Brodie and is revealed to only her closest friends, Edith and David in the seventh episode of the television series. This is revealed to be part of a plan orchestrated by Arthur, the head of Westview Television. The plan was to have Edith, who knew about Mary’s mental illness, perform a lobotomy on Mary so that she becomes a paraplegic and thus lose all ability to use magic or control her powers.
For decades, Westview has been publishing the famous westward bounderies comics, which feature superheros, talking dogs, and lots of fantasy elements. In the latest series, Agatha Harkness is cast as the new sheriff of Windermere, and she is assisted by a talking dog, Squire. In one of the latest episodes, Agatha Harkness is asking to join the newly created New Salem Witch School for troubled teens. She tries out for the position, but when her magical powers go out of control, her powers are returned to normal by a talking dog, whose last name is “PC”.
The famous Westward bounderies series by publisher, Bill Davidson, had a lot of popularity in the 70s. For fans of the series, Agatha is an archetypal “good girl gone bad” type of heroine who has magical powers and is always being saved. She is also very kind and caring towards her friends. For fans of the new television show, Agatha is the sexy yet powerful witch Wanda, who is a founding member of the new Salem Witch School, and who is shown to have some questionable ties with the devious and powerful witch, Mary.