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Friends, our moment in history has arrived. We all have felt the sting of human hatred, seen the disgust smolder in their eyes, we have grubbled and hidden like beaten animals anxious for a crumb from a master. We have lived too long in darkness and fear. No more! Nature has made us superior. We are the living future of this mighty planet. This world is our world now!
~ Magneto, addressing the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
To live among the stars, to rule jungle kingdoms, to guide entire nations, only to find oneself here. A self-loathing man might see this as deserved punishment. A vain man might compare this to the Christian Devil's fall from heaven. Me, I think the coffee's not terrible. I have been known by many names. Max Eisenhardt. Erik Lehnsherr. Magnus. Magneto. Each name marks its own sin. And one day I'll answer for those offenses. But not today. Only my actions... what I do in the name of all mutants... hold any real meaning.
~ Magneto

Magneto (real name: Magnus Erikson) is a powerful mutant and villain from the Marvel series, X-Men. He is the archenemy of the X-Men, as an anti-villain on many occasions. Despite once being close friends with Professor Xavier, the two became enemies when Xavier championed the co-existence of mutant and human kind working together. To Magneto, a Holocaust survivor who had seen and felt first-hand the worst ways human beings could treat those they deemed different, such a system was impossible and he instead championed a violent and destructive pro-mutant stance, one which saw humans as the enemy in a genetic war and promoted the idea that mutants should become the dominant species on Earth.

In addition to his traditional role as the adversary of the X-Men, Magneto has fought against several other heroes and villains in the Marvel universe, and also fought with both the X-Men and other heroes on numerous occasions, even becoming the leader of the X-Men for an extended period of time, all to achieve his goal of protecting mutantkind. 

He is the father of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, both of whom were originally part of his terrorist organization known as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (later referred to simply as the Brotherhood, as Magneto became a more morally "grey" character). It is later discovered that he has another daughter with his powers; Lorna Dane, also known as Polaris.

Though Magneto is a villain against the X-Men group, he has since in the comics joined them a lot of times, even becoming a hero himself, though he is not a supervillain due to his morals - he is an Anti-Hero because he protects mutants from humans at any cost. Several times, he could be compared to civil-rights leader Malcolm X.

Origin

A Holocaust survivor, Magneto was a young Jewish boy by the name Max Eisenhardt growing up in Nazi Germany where he and his family were constantly subjected to bullying and harsh treatment. Max had to learn to scavenge, steal, and evade the Gestapo to provide food for his family. Eventually, the family were rounded up and executed by gunfire; Max was the sole survivor, possibly due to his mutant powers manifesting, and was buried alive with the corpses of his family, however he dug his way out only to be recaptured and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where in order to survive he was forced to become a Sonderkommando - one of the Jews who were tasked with operating the gas chambers. It has been hinted on occasion that he may also have been sexually abused by Nazi guards and officers. He survived there until the Allied Forces liberated the camp and escaped with Magda, a fellow prisoner whom he had fallen in love with. They married and had a daughter, Anya, and tried to start a new life in the Soviet city of Vinnitsa; however, tragedy struck again. During an argument with an employer who was trying to cheat him out of his pay, Max's powers accidentally manifested and threatened the man. Upon returning to the inn in which he and his family were living, he found the place on fire, with Anya still inside. Before he could rescue her, his employer arrived with the police to have him arrested, and he was restrained and beaten despite his pleas, forced to watch helplessly as his daughter was burned to death and fell from the building. In that terrible moment, his powers manifested again in an explosion of force which destroyed a large area of the city and killed all those present at the scene apart from he and Magda, who fled in shock and terror at the "monster" her husband had become. Unawares to both of them at the time, Magda was pregnant with the twins who later became Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, whom Magneto would finally meet as teenagers. After burying Anya, Max spent some time searching for Magda whilst evading the authorities, but eventually abandoned the search. Under the forged identity "Erik Magnus Lehnsherr", Max eventually made his way to Haifa, Israel, where he found work as a medical orderly in a psychiatric hospital for other Holocaust survivors, and struck up a friendship with a young American doctor, Charles Xavier, himself a powerful mutant telepath. The two men shared theories on the emergence of mutant humans; Xavier believed that mutants and normal humans could come to co-exist peacefully, but Magnus had seen and experienced too much of the horrors humans could inflict on each other over the smallest of differences, and argued that mutants would have to seize the reigns of power in order to avoid being wiped out. They eventually parted ways after a confrontation with the terrorist group HYDRA - led, incidentally, by the Nazi war-criminal Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.

Magnus then began working with a covert American agency to capture fugitive Nazi war criminals using the codename "Magneto" for the first time and started a relationship with a physician named Isabelle; on an assignment he happened upon and captured Hans Richter, a former Nazi officer who was secretly working with the US against the Soviets in the Cold War, and his handlers murdered Isabelle to put him in his place; now firmly convinced humanity would go to any lengths to exploit, and finally, exterminate mutants, Magneto exacted his revenge on his handlers and vowed to lead mutantkind to dominate humanity. He spent years amassing resources and followers, and finally made his public debut in his now-iconic armor, helmet and cape by thwarting a US military missile launch and taking over the Cape Citadel military base - however he was opposed by the five original X-Men, the students of his former friend Chrales Xavier, who managed to defeat him and drive him off despite his far greater power and experience, thus beginning a long-standing enmity.

Powers and Abilities

Magneto, often referred to as the "Master Of Magnetism" has control over the entire electromagnetic spectrum - this manifests most famously as control over any magnetic metal, allowing him to shape it to his will.. however his control is so great that he can also generate force-fields, electrical-energy, amplify his strength to superhuman levels and also manipulate some other forms of energy. In many appearances Magneto wears a helmet specially designed to block out telepathic assaults and even without the helmet has shown some resistance to psychic attacks, of course he is no match for Xavier's psychic powers.

He is also extremely knowledgeable and has shown some degree of resistance to age (though so do many characters in the series).

Goals and Ambitions

We support equal rights for all beings - but you seek rights above those of humanity, you are willing to threaten anyone that disagrees with you - that makes you no better than a terrorist
~ Sue Storm (Invisible Woman)

Magneto wants to protect the mutant race from what he views as the inherent evil of mankind. As a survivor of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust before he even came of age, and as an adult, witnessing a rising hatred of mutants, he fears that mutants may suffer the same fate as the oppressed races of the holocaust. 

He came to hate mankind for its failure to accept those who are different and became increasingly dogmatic in his views, unable to accept differences in opinion and often seeing mutants that displayed human-friendly views as either foolish or misguided - in a tragic irony Magneto would start to mirror the qualities of those who had oppressed his people and only much later in his life did Magneto finally acknowledge this, having been blinded by his hatred for a large portion of his career.

Deeply cynical and often merciless he also holds the belief that mutants are superior to humans and should be treated as such - he also destroys any views as being a danger to his kind, including other mutants if necessary - however he is not quite as monstrous as some X-Men villains, such as Apocalypse, and doesn't wish to specifically enslave the world, rather shape it into his own vision of right and wrong. To achieve his ultimate goal of protecting mutantkind, Magneto has on various occasions allied with heroes such as the X-Men.

After most of the mutant population was depowered in the comics due to Scarlet Witch altering reality, after failing numerous attempts to reverse this, Magneto joined the X-Men to protect what is left of mutantkind despite the fact he cannot be fully trusted due to his past actions, this puts Magneto in a hero spot rather than his traditional villain role in the comics.

In Other media

Movie series

Main article: Magneto (X-Men Movies)

X-Men: The Animated Series

Magneto is the secondary antagonist in Season 1 of the 1992-1997 TV series X-Men and and anti-hero in the later series, with his voice provided by David Hemblen. During the first season, he plans to incite a war with humanity and allow mutants to live safe in the world, but is thwarted by the X-Men. Following the first season, Magnus would be an uneasy ally of the X-Men and still seems to respect Professor Xavier. In Season 2, Mister Sinister tricks Xavier and Magneto into going to the Savage Land only to end up trapped there and get their powers removed; Xavier regained his ability to walk here. When the X-Men arrive to save the two, Sinister is blown up and Magneto goes his separate ways. In Season 3, he is introduced by the High Evolutionary to his children, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. He tells them that their mother was horrified at him upon hearing his speeches about mutant freedom and abandoned him while still pregnant with the children. They manage to defeat High Evolutionary, but the two still hold Magneto in negative regard. During Season 4, he creates Asteroid M and kidnaps mutant scientists from Russian and American space-stations to do so, and brings loads of mutants (including the X-Men) to his haven. He ends up being betrayed by Fabien Cortez and is forced to destroy his mutant santuary upon discovering his intention to launch nuclear missiles at Earth. In the Season 5 end episode/series finale, he gathers an army of mutants to attack the world, but upon hearing that Xavier was dying, he saved him by sending his telekinetic message to Lilandra and watches him be taken away by her.

X-Men: Evolution

Magneto returns in X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Christopher Judge as main antagonist-turned anti-hero. In Season 1, he is most covered in shadow and gives orders to the Brotherhood and Mystique, and the X-Men are unaware of his existence. Xavier is taken to Asteroid M in the season finale, where we see that he is elderly, and seeks to mutate his mutant followers to fight the coming war with humans. He even convinces Cyclops and Alex Summers to mutate themselves, but they are convinced to give up their new powers. Magneto and Mystique end up thrown into the mutation device and escape in floating metal spheres right before Cyclops and Alex destroy Asteroid M. In the second season, he is revealed to be the father of Scarlet Witch, a deranged and mentally-scarred mutant with terrifying powers, and Quicksilver, who was in the Brotherhood during the other season. He tries to de-age himself using similar technology to what created Captain America, managing to save himself after his genetic enhancements failed his body. In the season finale, Magneto gathers his Acolytes (Gambit, Colossus, Pyro and Sabretooth) to New York City to face the X-Men, then (as part of a larger plan) ends up revealing to the world that mutants exist when a Sentinel attacks the X-Men and they have to fight it. The Sentinel supposedly falls on Magneto and explodes, blowing him apart, but the third season reveals he was saved by Quicksilver at the last minute.

He later makes it his job to obliterate the mutant Apocalypse and teams up with the X-Men to do so, but they fail to stop his re-emergence. In Season 4, Magneto learns of his plan to turn all humans into mutants and tries to destroy him, only to be turned into a Horseman. He is freed from mind-control after fighting the teamed-up X-Men and Brotherhood, and disappears. Xavier gets a vision of Magneto (in the future, at least) training the New Mutants and becoming an ally of the X-Men.

Wolverine and the X-Men

See: Magneto (Wolverine and the X-Men)

Iron Man: Armored Adventures

Magneto appears in "The X-Factor" episode in Season 2 of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, voiced by Christopher Judge yet again and being given his design and voice from X-Men: Evolution. He plans to kill Senator Kelly using Jean Grey, but is defeated by Iron Man and taken away to a plastic prison, never to be seen again.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Magneto is a protagonist in Marvel Zombies, as he blamed himself for dooming the Earth due to making a deal with an unknown zombie (rumored to be future Giant-Man) to bring the zombie plague over to lower the number of humans, but not aware of the consequences. He eventually meets his tragic end at their hands, cursing them in his final moments, shouting to his enemies "I hope you choke on me!".
  • Magneto was ranked #1 on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Villains list.
  • Magneto has often been compared with Malcolm X; conversely, Professor Charles Xavier has been compared with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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