Magneto is a male comic supervillain who features in Marvel Comics.
Magneto was one of the most powerful mutants on Earth, with the ability to control the electro-magnetic spectrum. Magneto's birth name is unknown, but he has called himself Magnus for many years.
Born in the late 1920s or early 1930s to a middle-class and educated Jewish family, the man who would one day be known to the world as Magneto spent much of his childhood in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. There, he lost his parents and older sister, but he managed to survive. While there, Magnus fell in love with a Gypsy girl by the name of Magda, taking it on himself to help her survive. As the Russian army closed in on Auschwitz, Magnus killed an SS soldier that was about to kill Magda and the two of them escaped the camp.
Together, they wandered for a time before settling in a Carpathian mountain village. The two were eventually married, and she bore him a daughter named Anya. They moved to the Soviet city of Vinnitsa, and it was here that he discovered his mutant powers. The inn he was staying in caught on fire, and the mob around him refused to let him save Anya, trapped in the apartment. Finally Anya fell from the burning building, and lay dead before him. Magnus, in a fit of rage and grief unleashed his newfound powers, killing all in the vicinity, save Magda. Shocked at what he did, at what he was, Magda ran off calling her husband a "monster," leaving Magnus to bury their daughter (unbeknownst to him, she was pregnant with twins). Thus he began his search for her, a search that would last several years.
He even created an alias for himself- "Erik Magnus Lehnsherr," a Sinte Gypsy- in order to hide from the Soviet police and KGB, as well as to search for Magda among her people. Eventually, Magnus gave up his search and emigrated to Israel as "Erik Magnus". There he worked in a hospital to care for Holocaust victims, and where he met, for the first time, Charles Xavier and a patient, Gabrielle Haller, and the three became close friends. Soon, Baron Strucker (a Nazi war criminal and leader of HYDRA) attacked and kidnapped Gabrielle (he had implanted in her mind the location of a huge stash of Nazi stolen gold). Magnus and Xavier rescued her, revealing their mutant powers to each other. After killing the Nazis against Xavier's wishes, Magneto himself stole the gold, vowing to use it in the struggle to protect mutants.
Magnus took a job with the CIA (as a double agent, working for Israel as well) and began using the code-name Magneto. His primary job being to hunt down Nazi fugitives and turn them over to Israel for trial. He soon fell in love with another woman named Isabelle. However, she was soon killed by "Control" (Magneto's superior at the CIA), who had come to admonish him for turning the war criminals over to Israel. Control ordered his men to kill Magnus, and at this point, he truly declared himself "Magneto," a superior being: a mutant. He declared war on humanity and killed the CIA operatives.
Very little was seen of him for a while, but he spent the next few years trying to organize a mutant resistance. He constructed the first of his many bases, Asteroid M, in Earth's orbit. He also recruited a gang of mutants- Toad, Mastermind, and his two twin children by Magda- Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. He called his group, with ironic intent, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Their goal was to conquer the Earth and create a world where mutants ruled the humans, with Magneto ruling the mutants.
Magneto opened his war against humanity by attaking the Cape Citadel missile base in Florida, and was opposed by Xavier's own students, the original X-Men. The two groups clashed many times, and eventually, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch abandoned Magneto and joined the Avengers. Magneto later showed up in the Savage Land and established a citadel there. He began performing experiments on the natives, transforming them into the Savage Land Mutates, which knew him as "The Creator."
He began many attacks on humanity and came to do battle again with the X-Men, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. He formed a new army of mutates and attacked the United Nations; however one of his creations, Alpha, used his powers and reduced Magneto to the form of an infant. Xavier took the baby to Muir Island, and entrusted him to the care of Moira MacTaggart.
Xavier planned to raise him to adulthood again, devoid of the horrors of Auschwitz. However, he never got the chance, as the Shi'ar agent Shakari restored Magneto to his prime, no longer a child, but no longer in the body of an elderly man. His powers were now at their peak, and his memories returned. He attacked and defeated the new X-Men. After teaming up with the Beast to defeat Doctor Doom and an encounter with Captain America, Magneto sought the X-Men out.
Magneto seized them from the mutant Mesmero, and entrapped them in his Antarctic base. He strapped them to chairs that suppressed their powers and reduced them to the level of infants, and leaving them in the care of a robot named Nanny, in an effort to do to them what had been done to him. The X-Men escaped and for the first time, this new team succeeded in defeating Magneto, destroying his base. He retreated to lick his wounds and returned again to a base in Bermuda, where he held the world hostage, ordering all to give up their nuclear weapons and surrender to his rule, with which he sincerely promised to bring order and peace to all. The Russians sent a nuclear submarine after him, the Leningrad, which Magneto destroyed. In retaliation, he raised a volcano in a Soviet city. Magneto was opposed again by the X-Men, who proved to be little match for him. However, in the end he stopped himself when he almost killed 14-year old Kitty Pryde, suddenly becoming aware of the monster he became.
Magneto disappeared to Asteroid M and brooded there for months, until it was destroyed and he fell to Earth. He was soon found floating in the Atlantic Ocean by Lee Forester. He fell in love with her and calmed down. He began to try a more peaceful path, and turned himself over to the World Court for trial when he was captured at a Holocaust memorial. Gabrielle Haller was his defense lawyer. The trial was disrupted by Baron Strucker's children, Fenris, but they were defeated. Xavier became gravely ill and went off to live with Lilandra, convincing Magneto to take over for him and train the New Mutants.
For a while, Magneto tried to follow Xavier's path, with the support of Lee and Storm, but he soon joined the Hellfire Club, becoming their White King. When Storm and the other X-Men seemingly died, Magneto started growing angry again, and returned to his old ways of thinking. He abandoned the New Mutants, claiming he had a higher purpose, but Moira called him on his excuses which she called "rationalizations." Magneto simply claimed he was going to give the world someone to hate, to play the part of the villain, but the death of Doug Ramsey and the imminent passing of the Mutant Registration Act accelerated his fears.
Magneto allied with Rogue (in fact, the two of them grew to love each other), Ka-Zar and SHIELD in the Savage Land, executing Zaladane despite Rogue's pleas not to. He built a new Asteroid M and escaped there, living isolated and alone until the arrival of Fabian Cortez. With him was a group of mutants who proclaimed Magneto their "Lord" and called themselves the Acolytes. Cortez's goal was different- he was there to murder Magneto.
Cortez began amping Magneto's power, making Magneto dependent upon him, and engineered events that made him the enemy of the X-Men once again. Magneto also discovered that while an infant in Moira's care, she manipulated his genetic structure to make him better able to handle his immense power (she theorized that the more he used his power, the more insane it drove him). Magneto believed that Moira and Xavier tried to alter his mind, to control him and kidnapped them, forcing her to do the same to the X-Men's Blue Team. It did not last, and in the midst of battle with both X-Men teams, Cortez revealed his true colors, abandoning Asteroid M to attack from the Soviet Union. As Asteroid M fell to Earth, Magneto chose to die with his Acolytes. The Asteroid was destroyed, but Magneto himself was saved by one of his Acolytes, Chrome, who transformed Magneto's body to metal so he would survive. All the others died.
Badly injured, he hid in Antarctica till he encountered the mutant Exodus. With Exodus, Magneto took control of the space station Graymalkin and re-named it Avalon, to create a separate mutant homeland in space to protect them from humanity and the Legacy Virus. He invited many to join him, including a new group of Acolytes he seized from Cortez, as well as the X-Men and their allies. He visited them at Illyana Rasputin's funeral to pay his respects to her, and invite them to join him. Their response was to attack immediately, but ultimately Colossus joined him.
The governments of the world attempted to block Magneto from re-entering Earth's atmosphere by creating a net, shielding it from him. In reponse, he unleashed a magnetic pulse which killed thousands. In desperation, Xavier led a team to Avalon in a final attempt to stop Magneto. In self-defense, Magneto tore the adamantium from Wolverine's skeleton, and in response, Xavier did something he swore he'd never do: he attacked Magneto with his own Holocaust memories and finally mind-wiped him, leaving Magneto a mental vegatable. (The evil portions of Magneto's personality took root in Xavier's mind, however, and later formed the entity known as Onslaught.) Magneto was cared for on Avalon by Exodus and the Acolytes, but then Avalon was attacked and destroyed by the mutant Holocaust. Magneto's pod crashed on Earth and was found by the mutant Astra, who created a younger clone of him who would go on to join the X-Men under the name Joseph (and would believe that he himself was Magneto).
At some point Magneto regained consciousness at last, and escaped. He returned again to a base in Antarctica and began re-gathering his Acolytes, and sending an emissary to the United Nations. At this point, Magneto decided he would have his mutant nation by whatever means necessary. He seized control of the Earth's magnetosphere, and threatened to destroy the planet unless his demands were met. He was opposed by Xavier and the X-Men, and Joseph died to save the planet. However, the UN gave in to Magneto's demands and awarded him the island nation of Genosha, for him to rule as its sovereign leader. The UN hoped he would be busy distracted by affairs in his new state, such as the civil war between various factions of humans and mutants as well as the Legacy Virus, to bother the world again.
One big secret Magneto kept was that he had exhausted his mutant power in his last great effort. He journeyed to Genosha and seized control of the country, putting down rebellions against him and manipulating his son Quicksilver into joining his Cabinet (Quicksilver hoped to be the voice of reason there) along with his ambassador to the UN Dr. Huxley (she manipulated the deal). He also brought Fabian Cortez on board, whom he gave the choice to amplify his power (in order to keep up appearances) and promised to kill at the first sign of treachery. He gave the previous leaders and upper class 24 hours to leave, and then he closed the country's borders.
He later allied with the X-Men when Apocalypse began seeking and imprisoning the twelve most powerful mutants on Earth. He hoped to draw on their power when he took the body of the mutant Nate Grey, aka X-Man. Apocalypse succeeded in capturing them, but Magneto proved to be the weak link when his power was drained prematurely. It was enough for the X-Men to break free and defeat Apocalypse. During the battle, Magneto drew on the magnetic powers of the mutant Polaris to great effect, greater than Cortez was able to provide, and he convinced Polaris to return to Genosha with him. Polaris accepted, as she too was intrigued by the power and sensations she felt when Magneto drew energy from her.
Shortly after, he survived a coup attempt, when the High Evolutionary disabled mutant powers across the planet, but held out and defeated the humans through Polaris when their powers returned. Magneto had almost secured control of the entire country, save the city Carrion Cove where the last remnants of the resistance held out. Scarlet Witch came to Genosha to inspect the status of the country for the UN, as well as for the United States, to see whether Magneto was planning to turn Genosha into a haven or a launchpad for conquest. She found that Magneto had installed a socialistic government, and even allowed her to privately interview the human population. Except for the resistance, Magneto had done an admirable job of repairing the country, and he would even allow the humans to leave for the mainland once things were truly stable.
Truly fearing Magneto, the UN sent in the Avengers to assist the resistance at Carrion Cove. It was later revealed why Magneto was desperate to truly take control of Carrion Cove at this time. A genetic enhancer was there, which had been used in the past to create Genosha's mutate slaves, and he sought to use it to regain is full power. After battling his way through the Avengers with help from Polaris, he found the last obstacle to the device, his own two children. He decided that it would be an acceptable loss to forfeit his last chance at reconciliation with them, and knocked them out before entering the machine. Polaris turned against Magneto at this point, but he managed to turn her own power against her. With nothing left to stand between him and the machine, he activated it, and his powers were restored- in fact, he was even more powerful now. It took him mere seconds to cripple the Avengers and evict them from Genosha when he threatened to rain nuclear missiles down on cities if they did not stand down. He took the time to properly execute Cortez for treachery. Now, Genosha was truly his.
The last obstacle in his way was the Legacy Virus, but that was no longer a problem when Colossus sacrificed his life to cure mutants all over the world of it. Magneto was now ready: he began traveling the world, tearing down various mutant factions (since he would no longer tolerate his people being divided), and regrouping them on Genosha, forging an army of mutants ready to conquer the world. He kidnapped Xavier and brought him to Genosha, chaining him to a crucifix in the heart of the island, which he named "Magda Square." He used his power to slow the iron in Xavier's blood making him into a vegetable for revenge, and forced Xavier to watch the armies of Genosha gather (he placed a headset on Xavier that kept him from closing his eyes). Unbeknownst to him, the X-Men Wolverine and Cyclops infilitrated Genosha to destabilize things from within and help human refugees escape.
Meanwhile, Jean Grey was gathering together a new group of mutants to face Magneto. These 'new' X-Men, along with Jean Grey and Dazzler, crashed into Magda Square, where Magneto came out to deal with them personally. Though amateurs, they at first caught Magneto off guard, but he managed to defeat them before Cyclops and Wolverine stormed Magda Square and attacked him. Dazzler freed Xavier, and he in turn used his psychic powers to disable Magneto's powers. Xavier made one last attempt to reach out to him, but Magneto vowed that this was not the end. Then Wolverine decided to end things himself; with Magneto's powers disabled he stabbed Magneto through the stomach with his restored adamantium claws, and left him for dead.
Magneto survived and was recovering in his capital in a wheelchair, when Cassandra Nova unleashed a new army of giant Sentinels on Genosha. Magneto was apparently killed when one Sentinel crashed into the capital building and destroyed it.
Personality and attributes
He believed the human race no longer deserved dominion over the planet Earth and that the age of Mutants had come to rule it. (X-Men v1 #1)
Powers and abilities
As a Mutant, he had extraordinary powers beyond those of a normal human where he control surges of pure magnetic energy. This allowed him to control anything made of metal which he could do so remotely over great distances. Magneto could alter magnetic waves to either positive or negative states allowing him to either attract or repel objects. Such was his skill that he could cause small objects such as firearms to become heavy or he could redirect the path of missiles and animate tanks to follow his commands. In addition, he could direct this magnetic energy to create a shield for himself to protect him from harm and even use it to encase enemies to trap them in an invisible barrier. Magneto could also fly through the air by means of magnetic repulsion allowing him to move without aid across great distances. (X-Men v1 #1)
- Magneto was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby where he made his first appearance in X-Men v1 #1 (September, 1963).
- In Earth X, an alternate version of Magneto appeared in a world established in the Multiverse. In the wake of Plague X, a new wave of Sentinels were unleashed in a vain attempt to contain the mutation. Eventually, these Sentinels faced Magneto, who defeated them in the Savage Land and used their bodies to create Sentinel City, a new haven for mutants. After the removal of the Celestial embryo from Earth, the magnetic polarity of the planet shifted, somehow transferring Magneto's powers to Toad. Toad used his newfound powers to make Magneto his slave, in vengeance on Magneto for his past bad treatment of him (despite Magneto's attempts to treat him fairly in Sentinel City). However, after normal magnetosphere of Earth was restored, Magneto regained his powers, and made it clear to Toad that he wanted to treat him as an equal from then on.
- In Exiles v3 #6 (2018), an alternate version of Magneto was shown to exist in a world in the Multiverse that resembled the American Wild West. This version headed the criminal Magnus Gang that were outlaws who travelled into a town and started abducting people with Magneto himself having the powers of magnetism allowing him to shoot bullets with his abilities.
In other media
- X-Men v1:
- Uncanny X-Men v1:
- New Mutants v1:
- X-Men v2:
- New X-Men v1:
- House of M v1:
- X-Men: Legacy v1:
- AvX v1:
- Magneto v3:
- X-Men: Blue v1:
- Secret Empire:
- Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor v1:
- X-Men: Black - Magneto v1: