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|First appearance||Fantastic Four vol. 1 #186 (September, 1977)|
|Created by||Len Wein (writer)|
George Pérez (artist)
|Base(s)||New Salem, Colorado, US|
Salem's Seven is a fictional team of magical beings and former supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They were initially foes of the Scarlet Witch and the Fantastic Four, but in more recent years, they have become allies to both. All seven are the children of Nicholas Scratch and the grandchildren of Agatha Harkness. They are humans with magic powers who can transform into fantastic creatures with super-powers.
Fictional team history
Salem's Seven originated in New Salem, Colorado, a hidden town in an unsettled part of the Rocky Mountains populated entirely by magic users who mostly lived in fear and loathing of normal humanity due to the persecution that was imposed on them during the Salem witch trials. All of Salem's Seven were fathered among different women by Nicholas Scratch. Scratch's own mother Agatha Harkness was the most powerful of the town's inhabitants, but she chose to leave the village and live among humanity. In time, she became the governess for Franklin Richards (son of Invisible Woman and Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four). Scratch had Salem's Seven abduct Agatha for purportedly betraying the New Salem community. They also brought back Franklin with them to give to Scratch as a new host-body, which forced the Fantastic Four to pursue. Although initially overcome and imprisoned, the Four defeated their captors, banished Scratch from this dimension, and saved Harkness. When Salem's Seven much later tried to avenge themselves on Harkness, she removed their ability to change forms.
Over the years, Salem's Seven managed to reverse the spells locking them out of their enhanced forms, greatly weakening Harkness in the process. They took control of New Salem, and with Vertigo as their leader, they turned the whole community against Harkness and burned her at the stake. The Scarlet Witch and the Vision were then drawn to New Salem, where they were captured by the Seven. Gazelle dissented with the group's plans of sacrifice, and was thrown in with the prisoners. The Vision escaped and battled Vertigo, who drew into herself the powers of the other 665 residents of New Salem. When the Vision defeated her, Vertigo lost control of the power. The Scarlet Witch managed to channel some of it off, but in the ensuing explosion all of New Salem was apparently wiped out, including the Seven.
The next Halloween, Wanda attempted to commune with Agatha Harkness's spirit, but was drawn through into the land of the dead, where she was confronted with spirits of the Seven (except Gazelle) who had aligned themselves with a being that called itself Samhain. Wanda defeated Samhain and bound him within the spirits of the six of the Seven.
Via samples of their DNA, Brutacus, Hydron, Reptilla, Thornn, and Vakume were later re-animated as some of Arnim Zola's proto-husks. These were all introduced and then promptly slain for humorous effect by Deadpool.
All members of the Salem's Seven were resurrected when the Scarlet Witch's mental breakdown and manipulation of magic restored them to life.[volume & issue needed] Their father Nicholas Scratch manipulated them into releasing Shuma-Gorath, but then aided the Fantastic Four, Diablo, and Doctor Strange in defeating Scratch and Shuma-Gorath.[volume & issue needed] The seven were subsequently living with Doctor Strange and are friends of the Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed]
In the pages of the 2014 New Warriors series, the Salem's Seven have been seen living again in New Salem, which has become a haven for all people "born of magic" with Salem's Seven acting as the town's resident protectors.
Through the advice of a mysterious benefactor, Wizard enlisted Gazelle, Reptilla, and Vertigo of the Salem's Seven to join his Frightful Four. They attacked Mister Fantastic in Chicago until Scarlet Witch arrived to help Mister Fantastic.
During the "Hunted" storyline, Gazelle was among the animal-themed superhumans captured by Taskmaster and Black Ant for Kraven the Hunter's Great Hunt sponsored by Arcade's company Arcade Industries. In the ensuing chaos when the hunt begins, Gazelle is stabbed by a Hunter-Bot controlled by one of the participants.
- Brutacus - Son of Scratch who transforms into a lion-like humanoid with red horns. In this form, he has strength and durability sufficient to match Thing or Vision.
- Gazelle - Daughter of Scratch who transforms into a cloven-hoofed deer-like person with super-speed and agility.
- Hydron - Son of Scratch who transforms into bipedal merman who can fire controllable streams of water from the stump-end of his left arm.
- Reptilla - Daughter of Scratch who transforms into a snake-like form with a single long snake tail instead of legs and two poisonous snakes instead of her arms. She has the ability to constrict and to also bite with her hand-snakes.
- Thornn - Son of Scratch who transforms into a yellow demon-like humanoid with large red thorns jutting from the arms and legs. He has the ability to throw explosive thorns or stunning thorns.
- Vakume - Son of Scratch who transforms into a featureless purple humanoid. He has the ability to become intangible and control air, creating winds and vacuums.
- Vertigo - An African-American and eldest daughter of Scratch with no special transformation. She is not the same character as Vertigo of the Savage Land Mutates, but possesses the same ability to attack a person's sense of balance.
Appearing in Ultimate Fantastic Four operating out of Salem, Oregon, the Seven (as they are called) are a new Super Hero team. Although they are saving many people, they are just as quick to fight the Fantastic Four to get the chance to do so first. Members Include:
- Alpha Dog - Leader of the Seven. He is able to alter density of objects allowing for the appearance of super-strength and invulnerability.
- Ghostware - Member of the Seven with the ability to phase others and self through solid matter.
- Neuropath - Member of the Seven with emotional induction which allows for control of others' emotions.
- Penultimate - Member of the Seven with cybernetically-enhanced body and high-tech weaponry.
- Primal Screamer - Member of the Seven with powerful vocal blasts.
- Filament - Member of the Seven who creates hyper-dimensional threads which cut through all matter
- Synchron - Member of the Seven who can alter probability in such a way that he can be in several positions at once, attacking from many directions.
In issue #56, it is revealed that the group are one being, a creature known as the Dragon-of-Seven which can separate into multiple forms. As a single entity, the Dragon takes the form of Agatha Harkness. The Dragon posed as Harkness to get the Fantastic Four to doubt how they work as a team, and as the Seven so that they would doubt even further, as part of a plot to kidnap the Human Torch, force him to explode, and give birth to more just like it. The Dragon was killed when the Invisible Woman found a way to reverse the heat waves, so that the Dragon, in the form of the Seven, would explode instead.
In other media
The Salem's Seven appeared in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "The Sorceress Apprentice." Alongside Nicholas Scratch, they kidnapped Agatha Harkness. Scarlet Witch and Vision fought them while the other Avengers were busy fighting Grim Reaper.
- Fantastic Four #186. Marvel Comics.
- Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #3, Marvel Comics.
- Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #5. Marvel Comics.
- Deadpool #0. Marvel Comics.
- New Warriors Vol. 5 #1. Marvel Comics.
- Fantastic Four Vol. 5 #10. Marvel Comics.
- Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5 #18. Marvel Comics.
- Salem's Seven at Marvel Wiki
- Salem's Seven at Comic Vine
- Salem's Seven at the Comic Book DB
- Villains of Marvel Comics article on Salem's Seven
- Marvel Directory's article on Salem's Seven