Salem’s Seven is the elite strikeforce of a hidden cabal of witches and warlocks. These seven warriors can magically mutate into superhuman forms specifically designed to defeat the Fantastic Four. They have also battled the Avengers and, perhaps more importantly for comic collectors, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch (who we are all excited to see in Disney’s upcoming WandaVision television series).
A Hidden Magical Town (long before Hogsmeade and Harry Potter)
Everyone in the mystically hidden town of New Salem, Colorado have occult powers. The most powerful of them, and their leader, was Agatha Harkness. When Agatha became aware of the world-bending powers of Reed and Sue Richard’s son, Franklin, she chose to leave New Salem to become Franklin’s governess.
Agatha’s son, Nicholas Scratch, took advantage of her absence to install himself as the leader of New Salem. Fearing that his mother would betray their hidden community, Scratch abducted her and Franklin to stand trial for treason (Fantastic Four #186). Convinced that the Fantastic Four would come in search of them, he magically mutated his seven grown children (Agatha’s grandchildren), giving them abilities designed to counteract the Fantastic Four’s powers.
Salem’s Seven each chose a name indicative of the powers their new form possessed.
- Vertigo remained in her human form and, as her name implies, could cause waves of dizziness and nausea that would incapacitate a foe.
- Brutacus became a lion-like strongman whose strength rivaled the Thing’s.
- Gazelle was gifted with inhuman speed and agility.
- Reptilla’s limbs became snake-like appendages.
- Thornn shot out thorns from his body. These projectiles could explode on impact or poison their target.
- Hydron blasted streams of water from his hands.
- Vakume controlled the flow of air and oxygen in spheres he generated.
Their Important Ties to Vision and the Scarlet Witch
Despite being designed to defeat the Fantastic Four, the Seven are bested by them on three separate occasions. Their master, Nicholas Scratch, was banished to another dimension. However, the Seven were very resilient. Regaining their powers, they captured Agatha Harkness and burned her at the stake.
Upon her demise, Harkness mystically called out to her former student, the Scarlet Witch. In Vision and the Scarlet Witch #3, they confront the Seven. After initially being captured, the heroes escape and defeat Salem’s Seven. To do so, the Scarlet Witch had to divert the collected energy of all of New Salem into a mountain, destroying the mountain and apparently killing the Seven and the population of New Salem.
It’s hinted in the issue that redirecting this massive amount of magic is also what allowed the Scarlet Witch to become pregnant with twins.
Bringing the Magic Back
Salem’s Seven returns from the nether-realm in Marvel Knights 4 #25. This time with a decidedly darker, more mystical look. Where they originally looked like typical superhero foes, this new incarnation gives a more supernatural vibe. With the unlikely assistance of their long time foe, Diablo, the Fantastic Four convince the Seven to turn on Nicholas Scratch. After banishing their former master, Salem’s Seven decide to become the protectors of New Salem.
The new WandaVision series coming soon on Disney could bring some new interest in Salem’s Seven. I don’t pretend to have inside information about the series. However, Salem’s Seven and their powers would translate nicely to the small screen. Also, as mentioned above, Salem’s Seven was an integral part of Wanda’s pregnancy. Rumors are swirling about Wanda being pregnant at some point in the new TV series. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Will this generate new excitement for Salem’s Seven, or will they remain Almost Infamous?