Magus is a powerful Marvel comics supervillain who was a galactic tyrant and a god for a while and now exists in a ghostly form - he is the archenemy of Adam Warlock.
Lord Chaos and Master Order decided that they needed to create a Champion of Life to oppose Thanos, the Champion of Death. To this end they had their creature, the In-Betweener, kidnap Adam Warlock and spirit him away to his realm. For centuries, Warlock was bombarded with Chaos and Order's "dark secrets." Primarily, they taught him that there is no such thing as good and evil. Rather, the true struggle is between purpose (life) - and non-purpose (death). Warlock sought refuge from these "truths" in his cocoon, but they penetrated even there. Finally, Warlock gave in to these "truths," which resulted in him going insane.
Chaos and Order then sent him to Homeworld 5000 years before his time. Warlock, calling himself the Magus, emerged from the cocoon with greatly enhanced powers, purple skin, and an afro. The inhabitants of Homeworld attacked him and were quickly slaughtered. The survivors soon fell to worshipping him as the one, true god. The Magus used their advanced technology to build a fleet that forcibly spread the religion of The Universal Church of Truth throughout the galaxy. Thus, the Magus ruled a vast theocratic empire for millennia. Finally the Magus set out to bring about his own creation. Four years before Warlock was to be abducted by the In-Betweener, the Magus found the woman who was to be the Matriarch in a brothel and created the other institutions that he remembered from his experiences as Warlock.
The Magus appeared to Warlock as a Big Glowing Head after 3 of his Inquisitors murdered a girl Warlock had sworn to protect. The Magus taunted Adam with illusions that made him realize that he and the Magus were one and the same being. Warlock vowed to defeat the Magus, much to his amusement.
The Magus confronted Warlock after Adam's encounter with the Madness Monster. The Magus easily defeated Warlock in battle, gleefully pimp-slapped Pip, and then told Warlock his origin: Warlock's future, his past. Warlock refused to believe it until the Magus finished Adam's sentences for him, proving that he knew how events were going to unfold. The Magus also revealed that he knew of the Matriarch's attempts to dethrone him. Warlock recovered and attacked him, only to be humbled again. The Magus toyed with him some more until the proper moment to summon the In-Betweener. Gamora sought to stop him, but was pimp-slapped herself. The Magus blasted Adam with harmless radiation that would lead the In-Betweener to him within hours. The Magus then left, executed the Matriarch and ordered 25,000 of his Black Knights to attack Adam, Pip and Gamora. The Magus planned for the Knights to keep Adam too busy to devise a way to escape the In-Betweener. However, the Magus had reckoned without Thanos, who appeared to help Warlock just as the Knights were attacking.
With Thanos' help, Warlock and the others escaped the Knights and retreated to Thanos' ship, Sanctuary II. The Magus learned of Thanos' involvement and used his astral senses to look into Sanctuary. He saw that Thanos had constructed a time-machine and was planning to send Warlock through it. The Magus realized that with Warlock and a time machine, Thanos could prevent his very existence. The Magus opened a portal onto Sanctuary and led a squadron of Black Knights against Thanos, Warlock, Pip and Gamora. Once again he planned to delay them until the In-Betweener's arrival. However, Thanos convinced Warlock to steal all of the Black Knights' souls. With no one in his way, Warlock plunged into the time machine with Pip. Thanos and the Magus squared off, and the Magus revealed that he knew Thanos wanted to destroy all the stars, and that as Life's champion, he would oppose him. The two of them fought a cataclysmic battle while Warlock found himself on his own "kismet trail," a junction of his possible futures. The Magus had just beaten Thanos when he suddenly began fading from existence. Warlock had destroyed the trail that led to his life as the Magus. The Magus began a futile dash toward the time machine to stop Warlock, but he faded completely before he could get far. The universe then recreated itself without the Magus having ever existed.
The Magus was recreated when in order to be a logical god after his having gained the Infinity Gauntlet, Warlock expelled both good and evil sides of his persona. The Magus was reincorporated near the Crossroads leading to several strange actualities, realities which may not have existed prior to the Magus' resurrection.
Via travel to a number of the dimensions accessed from the Crossroads, the Magus acquired five cosmic-containment units (reality-altering objects of power, much like the Cosmic Cube). From the Crossroads, the Magus wandered far down the Dimensional Corridor, finally establishing a barren region to call his own. From there he set up a fortress from which to execute his ultimate plan: Determining that direct and prolonged exposure to the energies of the Containment Units could cause madness, the Magus set up instrumentation through which to control their power. He planned to merge the Earth-616 dimension with an alternate reality of his own designs, which would transform Earth-616 to match the new realm and place its inhabitants under his control.
Not content with even this, the Magus plotted to gain further power, the power of the Infinity Gauntlet. Knowing that the Living Tribunal had rendered the Infinity Gems unable to be used in unison, the Magus plotted to make his threat known so that the Tribunal would be persuaded to reverse his decision. He needed to enlist someone of sufficient power and cosmic stature to appeal to the Living Tribunal: Galactus. At the same time, limited knowledge of his plans would draw Adam Warlock and his Infinity Watch—possessors of the Infinity Gems—close to him, enabling him to take the Gems for himself. Finally he planned to involve Earth's heroes, intending to use them to cause distraction and confusion amongst the more major players/pawns in his plot.
Lastly, the Magus set up a relay transmitter midway between his realm and the Earth dimension, intending to draw others to its energies, delaying their location of his realm.
From the nearby Dimension of Manifestations, the Magus acquired an army of soldiers.
Magus told prime manifester Anthropomorpho—he needed a shade for every hero on Earth. Anthropomorpho replied it had to fulfill the needs of those with greater power levels than Magus. Magus said that that would soon change and that Anthropomorpho better hope he was not feeling vindictive when it did.
The Magus altered the manifesters in "unspeakable ways".
Via the power of his Cosmic Containment Units, the Magus rendered Eternity essentially comatose.
Magus knocked over some chess piece heroes as he watches his "shade" versions of the heroes battle their counterparts. The "shade" Thanos warned Magus that these heroes are known for their tenacity. Magus says he has foreseen every eventuality. Shade Thanos says he doesn't understand why Magus has the shades fight. Magus insults his sidekick Thanos and sends out the Reed Richards' shade. The shade defeats the original and takes his place.
Then, Thanos tracked some mysterious energy readings and the Thanos doppelganger to a fortress in another dimension. There he encountered the Magus and was shocked he had returned to existence. After a not-so-friendly tête-à-tête, Thanos was ready to battle the Magus and the doppelganger. However, the Magus revealed his army of doppelgangers and Thanos realized he was outmatched. The Magus used his technology to send Thanos back to his own dimension and erase all the information he had collected. Thanos went to get Warlock's help, which is exactly as the Magus planned.
However, unbeknownst to the Magus, two players he had not anticipated—and thus not monitored—entered the field. Dr. Doom and Kang took note of the energies being used by the Magus and joined forces to make that power their own.
Magus is seen grinning in front of a console.
Magus and ShadeThanos watch Thanos with Warlock. He sees them plan to go to the Infinity Well in Death's palace. ShadeThanos says he can find no fault with Magus' plan, but wonders if it will ensnare Magus' "other self". Magus freaks and grabs ShadeThanos' neck saying Warlock is his shade, not vice-versa. ShadeThanos agrees. Magus asks about the Galactus Contingent—an alliance of Galactus, Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, and Nova (Frankie Raye), who were investigating the vast energies the Magus was releasing. When they find they are ahead of schedule Magus decides he better find a way to slow them up. When Magus feels they have learned enough he informs Death indirectly that they are in her palace. Magus watches as his Reed Richards' doppelganger detonates a gamma bomb while the heroes are all gathered within the Fantastic Four's headquarters.
Thor uses his hammer's mystical powers to contain the blast. Then, Magus and ShadeThanos teleport into the Fantastic Four's base and takes back the doppelgangers of Iron Man and Richards. The heroes naturally assumed ShadeThanos to be the real deal and thus took him for the villain in the current plot. Further, due to the Magus' obviously similar appearance to Adam Warlock, they assumed him to be part of the plot as well.
The Magus watches as the heroes find a red herring; coordinates he left for them because he wants them to be there. Magus says the gamma bomb was never meant to destroy the heroes, only to get them involved so that they can "muddy the waters". The heroes are just pawns. Thanos and Warlock are the main pieces, and Pip, Gamora, Galactus, and Eternity are useful secondary pieces. Magus plans to manipulate them all into getting what he wants.Galactus is still running too far ahead of schedule. To slow him down the Magus used the power of the Containment Units to blow up Galactus' ship (though Galactus' power protected himself and those within). Magus says that despite all his power he aspires to greater heights. Magus sees Thanos, Warlock, and the Infinity Watch arrive at a second destination point on time. Magus says you can't imagine what it's like to have a past that never was. To be denied all his yesterdays and tomorrows. Magus says that when he gains ultimate power Thanos and Warlock will pay the most. ShadeThanos asks about Thanos' warnings against divinity. Magus says Thanos subconsciously felt unworthy of the power and that he has no such fatal flaw. He has already been worshipped as a god. Magus watches as the Living Tribunal arrives before the catatonic Eternity. Magus dispatches the other shades to Earth to fight the heroes who remained behind. Magus watches as the pawn heroes teleport right to where he wanted them- facing Thanos and the others. A misunderstanding results, as the Earth natives still distrust Thanos, with the concomitant battle ensuing. Magus says that nothing can stop him now.
Magus admires Thanos' ability to bring out the extremes in those around him. ShadeThanos thinks that he, like his counterpart, craves ultimate power. Magus notices Gamora experiencing a vision where a gauntleted hand reaches for Warlock.
At some point, the Necromancer, the Doctor Strange of the High Evolutionary's Counter-Earth, who had left that planet years before and thus escaped its destruction, went to the true Earth in search of the true Doctor Strange. He found and killed a double of Doctor Strange loyal to the Magus. However, the Necromancer then decided to offer his services to the Magus via a telepathic signal, and the Magus accepted his service.
Magus watches the heroes on Earth battle their doppelgangers and the heroes at the power station fight the Infinity Watch group. Magus asks ShadeThanos to tell him as soon as Phase III is ready. At some point (at least according to a vision of the Master), Magus enjoys some champagne around this time.
ShadeThanos tells Magus a second time that he senses something (Kang and Doom, who arrived at the Magus' base, undetected as they used a cloaking device and as the Magus had not been specifically watching out for them), but Magus says to forget it. Magus watches as Galactus comes and teleports all the heroes aboard his ship. ShadeThanos warns Magus about underestimating Galactus' might. Magus says that Galactus is integral to his plan. Galactus joined forces with the heroes, sharing each one's memories with the others, breaking down their mistaken assumptions about the motives of Thanos, Warlock, etc. Galactus further summarily incapacitated all doppelgangers assaulting the contingent of heroes who had remained on Earth.
Thor discovered that the Magus was merging another reality with Earth-616, and he transmitted that information to the heroes, Thanos, Galactus, etc.. Magus watched as Warlock reunited the Infinity Gauntlet in an effort to oppose the vast power the Magus held. The Gauntlet didn't work because of the Living Tribunal's verdict earlier that they could not again be used in unison. Galactus left to appeal to the Living Tribunal to allow for the Gauntlet working. The second Galactus is gone, Magus teleports in with ShadeThanos and grabs Warlock, who is wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. Magus snatches the Gauntlet from Warlock and puts it on. ShadeThanos pushes Warlock to the ground. Magus stands above Warlock now wearing the Infinity Gauntlet.
Meanwhile, Thanos attempted to goad Quasar into using the Ultimate Nullfier against the Magus, knowing that to use it would almost certainly slay Quasar as well.
Warlock mocks Magus for wanting a powerless gauntlet, but Magus says the power will be restored soon. Magus sends ShadeThanos out to greet Thanos as he teleports to Magus' base. Magus explains that Thanos was used to activate the secondary players. Galactus was used for his might and prestige. Earth's heroes were used to confuse everyone to the true goal. Warlock was used to bring together the Gauntlet for him. Magus admires how even cosmic giants are his unknowing slaves. He tells Warlock of the field that prevents Quasar from using the Ultimate Nullifier. As Magus watches the pending verdict on the Gauntlet, Kang and Doom decide to attack. Warlock decides to side with the devil he knows and fights with Magus against them. Kang shoots Magus. Magus hits him and smashes his face into a screen. Magus gets up and realizes that the field that was blocking the Ultimate Nullifier is down. Kang shoots Magus in the back. Now angered, Magus backhands Kang. He hits Kang into the wall, and goes to physically use the Cosmic Cubes to reinstate the shield. Doom defeats Warlock and Kang tells Doom to go after Magus. Doom says he will, but since Kang is no longer any use to him he blasts him. Magus is aghast to find that the Cosmic Cubes have been stolen by parties unknown (later revealed to be the Goddess @ Infinity War#6). Doom blasts Magus from behind. Gamora resuscitates Eternity making it possible for Eternity to agree to Galactus' request to overturn Living Tribunal's verdict (as the Tribunal had no intention of rescinding the order without Eternity's support of the idea). Magus struggles to his knees. Doom demands the Gauntlet, but before Magus hands it over Eternity allows the gems to work together. Magus stands triumphant, now seemingly possessing the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet. He dissolves Quasar and holds the Ultimate Nullifier in his hands.
Magus sits on his throne with Warlock on a cross as in Gamora's vision. In moments Magus adjusts to godhood though the Reality itself is a bit much to focus on. Magus says to Warlock, "Whoever fights monsters, Warlock, should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. Nietzsche knew exactly what he was talking about".
Magus emerges from one chamber to addresses the two Thanos as they battle. Magus invites the winner to join him within the chamber, and then places a spell on the door to remain locked until one Thanos is dead. Magus watches from within the room and admires Thanos as a unique being- despite the fact that there are currently two of them. Magus believes his Thanos' augmented power will ensure the real Thanos' death. Then Magus will deal with his disloyal thrall. Magus says that two of anything is too much. Magus decides that soon his existence and that of his shades will take the place of the others.
Magus stands victorious with the Infinity Gauntlet now functioning. As Invisible Woman frees the Magus' captives, including her husband, the Magus appears as a giant face. Invisible Woman tries to attack it, but the Magus simply snaps his fingers and lines up all his opposition except Warlock, who remains on his cross, and Thanos, who emerges from his victory over ShadeThanos. Thanos stands in Magus' face, but Magus uses his power to force Thanos to bow. Thanos tells Magus that reality is not what Magus perceives. Magus' confidence is shaken and Thanos attacks. Magus starts pummeling Thanos. Freed in the conflict, Warlock grabs the Infinity Gauntlet from behind and tries to wrest control of the gauntlet. The heroes are teleported onto Galactus' ship and taken home.
As Magus and Warlock struggle, Warlock breaks off and power starts to flow from his body. Warlock says that reality is shifting constantly. Warlock releases a being half-Eternity, half-Infinity; Magus did not consider that a link exists between Eternity and Infinity, and that while he incapacitated one, he had achieved nothing without affecting them both.
The combined Eternity/Infinity apparently incapacitated Magus, allowing Warlock to absorb the Magus into his soul gem, though Warlock is rendered comatose from his experiences.
Thanos tells everyone that Magus' Infinity Gauntlet contained a phony Reality Gem. He never gained true omnipotence.
Magus sits in Soul World. He says that next time he will hold on tighter to the universe. Magus decides he will raise a psychic army to usurp Warlock's control of the Soul Gem. Magus tries to recruit Judge Kray-tor and Autolycus, but as they walk they pass right through him. Magus realizes that in Soul World, he is less than an entity because he is only a partial soul.
Adam Warlock, after having faced the Goddess, the embodiment of his feminine side, goes inside the Soul Gem and confronts Magus. Magus was expecting him. Warlock needs information from the Magus, his masculine side, to stop the Goddess.The defeated Goddess is sent into the Soul Gem and comes face to face with the Magus. Magus informs Goddess that as partial portions of a soul they are only phantoms in Soul World. Goddess charges Magus, but passes through him. Even to each other Goddess and Magus are ghosts.
Adam Warlock had been keeping the Magus contained within the Soul Gem through a significant amount of effort. A being known as Syphonn briefly usurped the Soul Gem, and although Adam soon regained it, the damage was done, and the Magus was out.
However, the Magus had been reduced to a shadow of his former self, and that was what had slipped free from the Soul Gem. His time spent in the Gem and with Syphonn had taught him about power, energy, and souls. He learned the art of taking ephemeral energy and converting it to the physical. He went to HalvaCenter, where he began absorbing the very essence of lives he needed to regain his full power. He knew it would take quite some time...and many, many victims. Dozens, perhaps hundreds...
Captain Marvel traveled to HalvaCenter on planet Calculex to spend time with old friends just as the city was experiencing a rash of disappearances. He became involved in the investigation when he learned one of the victims was his old lover, Steck'ee. Meanwhile, the Magus lurked beneath the streets with Steck as his hostage.
The Magus revealed to Marvel that he was behind the disappearances and that he held Steck prisoner. Marvel discovered that the Magus had killed hundreds more than the 11 victims known to the authorities. The Magus was using the energy from these people to restore himself to full physical life. However, the process was taking too long, so he planned to absorb the cosmically powered Captain Marvel to instantly restore himself to full vitality. Marvel attacked him to no avail.
Magus and Marvel were at a stalemate. The situation was further complicated when Rick Jones needed to switch places with Marvel to save his wife Marlo. However, the Magus swore that if Genis left, he would kill Steck. He eventually offered Marvel a compromise. If he would sacrifice himself to the Magus, the Magus would leave Steck and the rest of HalvaCenter alone and annihilate the Skrulls instead. Marvel pretended to go along, but when the Magus tried to absorb him, he found that Marvel's cosmic awareness linked his soul to the universe itself. This power was far too much for the Magus to absorb. Marvel transformed him into photonic energy and blasted him many light-years away from HalvaCenter. Unknown to Genis, however, the Magus landed on an unnamed planet, fully reborn, crackling with energy and laughing hysterically like a good villain.
The Magus appeared in the present to Marlo Jones, wife of Rick Jones, by appearing out of her mirror. He apparently opened a portal in her mirror and tried to abduct Marlo through it. Luckily, the mirror was shattered by Phyla, the sister of Captain Marvel.
Magus again attacked at the apartment of Marlo Jones. This time however, he found and gravely wounded Moondragon, after entering the apartment through a telephone.
Magus offered to heal Moondragon if she admitted she was afraid to die and wanted to be saved. She did so, and the Magus healed her with a kiss on her cheek, apparently mentally enslaving her in the process.
Alkhema | Annihilus | Badoon | Blastaar | Brood | Collector | Chitauri | Dark Avengers | Doctor Doom | Ego | Galactus | Gorilla-Man | Grandmaster | Kang the Conqueror | Korvac | Kree | Maelstrom | Magus | Nebula | Ronan | Skrulls | Space Phantom | Super-Adaptoid | Super-Skrull | Supreme Intelligence | Thanos | Ultimo | Ultron | Universal Church of Truth |