Heads up! This story is full of spoilers about the Wandavision series and related Marvel Comics comics
Who watched the last episode of WandaVision came across a strange place in the basement of Agnes’ house, the “noisy neighbor who revealed herself as the witch Agatha Harkness – we have already shown everything about her here in the comics, access the link below. And one of the things that caught the most attention in the final scenes of chapter seven was the presence of an enigmatic book, linked to powerful energies.
The most attentive readers soon associated this with the book Darkhold, one of the most evil magical artifacts in Marvel Comics comics. The scary grimoire, which appears on a pedestal at Disney +, may have introduced one of the most powerful objects in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
And what is this Darkhold book about? Why is he so feared and mysterious? And what implications can it bring to the MCU, not only in WandaVision, but also in the upcoming Marvel Studios plots and films?
What is the Darkhold book?
Often also called the “Book of Sins,” Darkhold had most of its pages written by one of Marvel Comics’ Elder Gods, Chthon, the first practitioner of dark magic. His words were forged on iron pages and are associated with chaotic deities and the conquest of reality.
The energies that come from Darkhold involve several incidents over the millennia in the Marvel Universe, including the creation of the first vampire, Varnae; and the first werewolf, Grigori Russoff. They were also manipulated in stories by the warriors Red Sonja and Conan (which is currently part of the official chronology of the Marvel Universe) and the witch Morgana le Fay. In the publications of the 1990s and 2000s, the book was widely mentioned in the corner of the Children of Midnight, as Ghost Rider, Blade, Knight of the Moon, Doctor Strange, among others.
Most of the reports involving Darkhold go back to the times of the sinking of Atlantis, when Agatha Harkness was one of its guardians – hence the fact of what happens in WandaVision be quite consistent with the roots of the comics. And since the Necronomicon is of great interest to the public of HP Lovecraft, Marvel has created a kind of its own version of the “Book of the Dead” in the form of Darkhold, an inexhaustible source of knowledge about witchcraft.
How does Darkhold connect to the Scarlet Witch?
After being forged on iron scrolls, the Darkhold survived the collapse of Atlantis and, as stated above, influenced Conan’s adventures, when he was in possession of several sorcerers and dark magicians, including the first vampire, Varnae. During Marvel’s Camelot period, the sorceress Morgana Le Fay ties the scrolls and Chthon in the first modern version of Darkhold, with the appearance it currently has. He is described by the wizard Merlin, another “Being Nexus” connected to the Marvel Multiverse, as a book of “such vile and terrible magic”. The artifact was used by le Fay’s son Modred against Merlin.
Chthon recognizes in Wanda his status as a “Being Nexus”, as the creatures linked to the Nexus of Realities are called, a place where dimensions touch in the Marvel Universe – we will talk specifically about this subject this Wednesday (24), do not miss also. With future goals in mind, Chthon shares a part of its own chaotic essence with Wanda the moment it is born.
This manifests itself through the “Hex Powers”, which cause bad luck to those affected and, over time, have evolved into more serious and darker consequences. Not for nothing, there are several mentions of hexagons and the word “Hex” is even used to determine where the fictional city of Westview is located in WandaVision.
Subsequently, both Modred and Morgana le Fay become great villains for Wanda – le Fay has even appeared in the series Runaways, from Hulu. In Avengers # 186, from 1979, we see Marvel stirring the scared past of the Scarlet Witch precisely to introduce these magical elements to the character – it is worth remembering that when she was born, she was tied to mutants and her powers had nothing to do with witchcraft. In the plot of this magazine, Modred kidnaps Wanda and takes her to a magical source on Mount Wundagore, where she has ties of origin.
In the late 1990s, in the third volume of the monthly magazine Avengers, Kurt Busiek and George Perez explore Wanda’s tonic energies in a plot in which Morgana le Fay manipulates the Scarlet Witch and her reality-altering powers as a magical battery to recreate the entire Marvel Universe in a twisted medieval setting.
How does Darkhold connect with other Marvel Comics stories?
After all its long history linked to the roots of the Marvel Universe itself, several authors took advantage of the rich background of this artifact to “explain” plots and characters. Thus was born the aforementioned first vampire, Varnae, and the lycanthropy of Casa das Ideias. In fact, the debut of the Knight of the Moon was in Werewolf by Night # 32, from 1975, when Marc Spector tries to capture a modern werewolf named Jack Russell.
Another character quite affected by Darkhold is Blade, who debuted in Tomb of Dracula # 10, from 1975 – it is worth mentioning that in the 1960s and 1970s the horror stories returned to be successful, with the weakening of the infamous Code of Comics, a stamp of American censorship already extinct. In the 1990s, Blade became part of a team called Darkhold Redenters, which tried to sweep away magic from the forbidden book from the face of the Earth.
Darkhold came to have a title of its own and several other Marvel villains have sought their power over the years, especially the devil Mephisto. The book was linked to the stories of the children of Midnight and even Carnage, the sadistic enemy of Spider-Man, tried to access his energies; and Baron Zemo also accessed Darkhold to increase the powers of his allies in the recent saga Secret Empire, published between April and August 2017.
Darkhold’s most interesting participation in the Marvel Universe involves Doctor Doom and the Scarlet Witch, in the arc Children’s Crusade, originally published in the magazine Avengers in mid 2010. In this story we learn that several of Wanda’s insane actions, from raising her children, to betrayal against the Avengers in the arc The fall, until the change of the whole reality in M Dynasty, were works of manipulation of the villain.
Destiny is always watching the primordial sources of power in the Marvel Universe and the chthonic and Darkhold energies have always caught your eye – anyone who knows the villain knows that he also has many connections with magic. So, what he wanted was to bring Wanda closer to him to marry her and take possession of his reality-altering powers. Doom didn’t get what he wanted, but the publisher has already hinted that it could be explored later this year in the comics.
In addition, a new title especially dedicated to Darkhold was announced in early 2020, perhaps already to accompany the public when WandaVision debut. But nothing more was said after the industry stopped, months later, with the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic (SARS-CoV-2).
The Darkhold in the MCU
Having said all that, several tips indicate that Marvel Studios has been building elements to explain the chthonic powers of chaos and the dark energies of Darkhold sorcery. It is worth remembering that the book has already been cited in SHIELD agents and although the NBC series did not have direct connections to the MCU, they are part of the Casa das Ideias on TV canon. And, as stated earlier, the artifact also showed up in Runaways on Hulu.
In SHIELD agents, Morgana le Fay appears played by Elizabeth Hurley and Darhold was nothing like the book that appears in WandaVision – but that’s okay, after all we’re talking about magic. One thing that stands out is that, in the previous series, the artifact is associated with the dark dimension of Dormammu, Doctor Strange’s enemy.
If we stop to analyze the color pattern of the energy coming from Darkhold and Agatha Harkness herself in WandaVision, you can make a connection with Dormammu seen in Doctor Strange. How do we know that Wanda will play an important role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it all makes a lot of sense.
But there are still some questions: where does Mephisto and Nightmare, who would also be antagonists, enter into this story? The Realities Nexus will be expanded after WandaVision? And the Black Knight’s Ebony Sword, which will be presented in The Eternals, will you have connection with all these magical elements?
Let’s see what WandaVision will respond in its final chapters.
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