"Magnetic force, Jack! Nature's force!"
Electromagnetism is a strange beast. It's one of the four fundamental forces of nature
, the others being gravity
, the nuclear weak force (radioactive decay
), and the nuclear strong force (binds atoms together
). In Real Life
it's not at all as powerful as superpowers portray them in fiction.
In fictionland the power of magnetism is treated as if it's like Telekinesis
, but specifically with power over metals and alloys. How powerful this is varies. These characters if too powerful can just fold their arms and let their Powers Do the Fighting
and will never even have to touch you themselves. They'll be floating in the air
, levitating steel girders around, and lobbing them at you, and while those normally weigh tons
they do this with just a flick of their hand. Plus being able create extra appendages with spare junk lying around. On the other hand when this is downplayed this can take the form of the character being literally magnetic
with metal just sticking to them wherever they go, but not having very good control over it. This is often played for comedy, because what kind of lame power is that anyway
Sometimes characters with these powers will be fully electromagnetic and can also manipulate electricity as well
. This is far broader than just simple magnetism
because now their arsenal of abilities includes control of plasma and radiation. Depending how much they know about the science of magnetism they may have won the Superpower Lottery
as this could give them the power to, to an extent, manipulate the other three forces of nature - bending light (possibly giving them cloaking powers
), or being able disassemble the very atoms that make up an object.
There is also Esoteric Magnetism, which is more like "magical magnetism". Someone is capable of manipulating objects via the concept of "attracting" or "repelling". regardless of whether the object is magnetic or not, sometimes, it even applies to non-objects
Artistic License – Physics
definitely applies to works that use magnetism powers. Shock and Awe
and Extra Ore Dinary
are Sister Tropes
. Compare Selective Magnetism
, and Hollywood Magnetism
. Magnetic Weapons
is when technology uses the force of magnetism for guns.
Anime and Manga
- In A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun Misaka Mikoto can do this as a side effect of her control over electricity. By modifying the flow of electricity in the air or on objects she can replicate the effect of an electromagnet, allowing for her to create a chainsaw out of iron filings or cling to metal surfaces. Even her signature Railgun is based on generating a powerful electromagnetic field.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a few Stands that invoke magnetism:
- Mariah's Stand, Bast, takes the form of an electrical outlet in with an ancient Egyptian motif; touching it magnetizes the unfortunate victim. Which seems like a minor inconvenience...but the magnetism increases with time and proximity to Mariah, and will eventually get to the point of flinging cars at whoever Mariah targeted...
- Risotto Nero has a more sophisticated approach: his stand, Metallica, lets him manipulate magnetic fields to shape iron into razor blades, scissors, and needles...inside his victims' bodies. A side effect of this draws iron out of the blood, leading to severe anemia that further weakens his opponents and can even kill them. Even though the iron in hemoglobin isn't ferromagnetic. He also uses it to make staples to close wounds he suffers in a fight and to camouflage himself as a rock with red iron dust.
- Solva of NEEDLESS has Magnetism as her power, which works likes the Half-Life 2 Gravity Gun, except it allows her attract/repel anything since it's specifically the power to create a "unique magnetic field".
- Mx0. Ise uses a form of magic based on magnetism, he can make anything magnetic and attracted to something else, allowing him to stick people to walls and so on.
- Eustass Kidd from One Piece ate a Devil Fruit that allows him to manipulate metals via magnetism, which he usually uses to repel metal projectiles (cannonballs) and form giant arms made of scrap and metallic tools and weapons.
- The Magnet Release bloodline limit is fairly prominent in the Hidden Sand Village; the Third Kazekage was famous using it to manipulate "Iron Sand". His successor the Fourth Kazekage used Magnet Release to manipulate gold dust, and both the Fourth's son Gaara and the Tailed Beast sealed inside him, Shukaku, can use the ability to do the same with sand.
- Magnet Release also crops up in other villages; Toroi from the Hidden Cloud was famous for using it to magnetize both his weapons and anything they came into contact with, turning his basic ninja tools into Homing Projectiles.
- Late in the story, Naruto temporarily gains Magnet Release from Shukaku and uses it to form a Magnet Release Rasengan.
- 666 Satan: Ball's O-Part's power.
- Zatch of Zatch Bell! has a spell like this, but not as most fiction portrays it. Instead of flinging around metal beams, Zatch instead releases an electric orb that magnetizes anything it hits. It sounds lame, but it's a lot more useful than it seems, considering there's not much his enemies can do when they're stuck to the side of a metal wall.
Film - Live Action
- This is the X-Men villain Magneto's main power. His application for it is normally for manipulating metals like molding them and moving them about or punting them as projectiles, but he can do other things with it like Flight (via repulsing Earth's magnetic pull), make Force Fields, Bloody Murder (blood has iron), Telepathy resistance (brain waves are electromagnetic... ?), Invisibility (light waves are electromagnetic). Really, just head to Marvel Wiki.
- This was Iron Man's power during the Silver Age, being able to move heavier objects and people, and to fly due to Iron Man's repulsors using magnetism.
- Spiderman villain Electro once had this as his main power. Where he was able to negate his weakness to water by making them evaporate with electromagnetism before it touches him. he was also able to paralyze people by overcharging their synapses with it. Otherwise, his normal Shock and Awe powers had basic electromagnetic capabilities which he used for things like Wall Crawl and fast travel on metal objects.
- The Marvel Comics character Polaris has magnetic powers similar to Magneto's, who was later revealed to be her biological father. She can sense and control magnetism, create magnetic energy pulses and magnetic force fields, and manipulate the Earth's magnetic field in order to fly.
- Amazing Man from All-Star Squadron gained magnetic attraction and repulsion powers after he lost his matter-mimicking powers in the sequel series The Young All-Stars.
- Control of magnetism was the main power of Green Lantern foe Doctor Polaris.
- Teen Titans and 'The Flash'' (the Wally West) enemy Magenta. Frankie Kane was a one time girlfriend of Wally West, who gained magnetic powers which killed her family. Not knowing her purpose in life, she became a villain
- In the live action Transformers movie, Jazz seems to have have magnetic powers, pulling the firearms of soldiers away from them. Blackout also has an EMP weapon.
- The servant Karkash from The Zombie Knight has power over electromagnetic fields, giving him both magnetism and lightning powers. He's kind of oddly matched with Hector, who's an iron materializer; Hector can neutralize Karkash's lightning by creating lightning rods, but Karkash's magnetism can use Hector's iron constructs against him if Hector can't uncreate them in time. Karkash can also fly by wearing chunks of iron under his clothes and moving those.
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain. Claire has electricity gloves which can magnetically stick to walls (letting her climb walls) or make people magnetic (letting her stick other people to walls).
- The titular Mistborn from Mistborn: The Original Trilogy can Push and Pull on metal of any sort (whether or not it's magnetic) by burning steel or iron respectively. Pushing metals causes them to fly directly away from the protagonist's center of mass (or causes the protagonist to fly away from the metal if the piece of metal is large or being pushed against something large and unyielding), while iron causes the metal to fly towards the protagonist or the protagonist to fly towards the metal (subject to the same limitations).
- The Dresden Files: Earth magic includes magnetism in its purview. While Harry's go-to elemental magics are fire and wind, he sometimes carries a Sword Cane bearing carved runes that allow him to throw guns and such around.
- In Sanctuary, Nikola Tesla becomes magnetized after losing his vampirism and Shock and Awe powers. He can pull metal towards his hands from long distance. And retains that power after becoming a vampire again.
- Mighty Med: One of Experion's powers.
- Smallville: In "Magnetic", Seth Nelson gains the power to control magnetism. This also somehow allows him a form of Mind Control.
- Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
- The effects of magnekinetic and technokinetic talents are both caused by espers consciously manipulating electromagnetic fields to affect weather systems and electronics, respectively.
- The Magnetic Field talent allows technokinetics to manipulate nearby metallic objects in a way that mimics telekinesis.
- Villains And Vigilantes. The "Magnetic Powers" power allows the user to move metallic objects, including using the object as a weapon.
- The power Telekinesis can be given the special effect "Magnetic" and the Disadvantage "only affects metallic objects", which would reduce its cost. The disadvantage could be made even greater by limiting it to only affecting iron or iron alloys (such as steel).
- In the supplement Enemies III, the super villainess Gaussian had magnetic powers which depend on the planet's magnetic field. She can fire a Magnetic Blast that affect targets wearing metal armor or clothing, create a magnetic force field and fly.
- DC Heroes 3rd Edition. The Mental power Magnetic Control allowed the Character to create and manipulate magnetic fields. This allowed hurling metal objects at an opponent to cause Physical damage, defending against attacks by metallic objects (swords, bullets, robots etc.), and simply moving metal objects around.
- In Myriad Song, Towsers can take the "Towser Magnetics" Gift. It allows them to walk on magnetic surfaces and intercept radio signals, as well as allowing their brawling attacks to ignore armor.
- In The Transformers, several Transformers had magnetic abilities that they used for various purposes.
- Ravage used it to cling to objects in his tiny alt-mode, making him an excellent spy.
- Windcharger actually has a relatively realistic portrayal, he can make each of his arms the pole of an electromagnet and use it to manipulate metal. The closer the metal is, the more powerful his pull.
- Tailgate (incidentally, his toy is a remold of Windchargers) has a powerful magnet in his front bumper, which he uses to follow other vehicles while saving fuel.
- In BIONICLE, Toa of Magnetism have the power to control magnetic fields. Gahlok-Kal and Kraata/Rahkshi of Magnetism and all Makuta have limited Magnetism powers. Skakdi of Magnetism can only access their power if they work with another Skakdi, or if they carry a weapon that allows them to focus their Magnetism power individually.
- In Megaman 3, Magnetman's gimmick is magnetism; he can either fire homing Magnet Missiles or pulling Mega Man towards him with magnetic force. The blurb also mentions more of it: He's been known for sleeping on ceilings by attaching himself on them and likes giving magnetic therapy, but he has to avoid floppy disks and other sensitive electronics because his magnetic field can affect them.
- Mega Man Zero 4: Mino Magnus, one of the bosses, wields the power of electromagnetism thanks to lots of electric conductors inside his body. He can do feats such as polarizing Zero's body with magnetic force and makes chunks of iron attach to him to impede his movement, repel and attract Zero with magnetic current, using magnetic force to gather chunks of iron scrap to be used as projectile, or even Detachment Combat.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Monsoon's gimmick is Electromagnetism. Since his body is just segments put together by magnets, he does Detachment Combat by shooting his segments at you. Throughout his Boss Battle, he also uses magnetism to throw tanks and choppers at Raiden. Finally, his Boss Banter consists of referencing Genius Bonus terms like Lorentz Force and Left Hand Rule (which can be confused as the other Left-hand-Rule, or rather, Path.)
- In the Jetstream DLC, Senator Armstrong demonstrates similar abilities, using his powers to toss the debris of a helicopter at Sam. It's not clear why he doesn't demonstrate this power in the fight with Raiden.
- Dark Elf in Final Fantasy IV has magnetic powers that cause your characters to become paralyzed if they enter his lair while equipped with metal gear. Though in a rare case of Shown Their Work for a fantasy RPG, silver weapons aren't affected.
- Magnetism is used in a couple of moves. Magnet Bomb is a Steel-type move that never misses, and Magnet Rise uses electromagnetism to make a Pokémon float above the ground, rendering it immune to Ground-type moves.
- The item "Magnet" increases the power of Electric moves by 20%.
- Many species of Pokémon such as Magnemite and its evolutions use magnetism to move around. Some of those species also have the ability "Magnet Pull", which prevents enemies of the Steel type from escaping the battle in any way.
- Magnet-Shroom in the Plants vs. Zombies series is a mushroom with a U-magnet for a head which he uses to attract zombies' metal objects from afar to weaken them. It is noted that magnetism is such a powerful power that Magnet-Shroom himself is scared of his own powers.
- "The Magnetic Avarice" Carrera from Azure Striker Gunvolt.
- Dota 2: Reverse Polarity changes properties of matter, sucking all nearby enemies in front of Magnus.
- MapleStory: Arrow Illusion creates an illusion of an arrow on the ground which draws in enemies and allows the Marksman to reflect damage when hit.
- Warframe: Mag's elemental forte. Oddly, this makes her powers strong against the Corpus not because she can disrupt their robotic proxies, but because she can dampen their shields. She can magnetically yank enemies from across rooms, place a magnetic field around an enemy that causes all nearby bullets to home in on them, short-circuit shields, and crush enemies into tiny balls of flesh and metal.
- BlazBlue: Part of Iron Tager's cyborg enhancement is that he can generate magnetic currents through his body that he can use to magnetize his opponents and, after that, drag them closer to him for his devastating close-range attacks.
- XRS Manipulation of electromagnetic energy is the cornerstone of the XRS capabilities.
- Paranatural. Max's weapon is a baseball bat which acts as a giant mentally controlled magnet.
- In Girl Genius, the sentient locomotive The Beast has this as one of its powers, while the human Count Wolkerstorfer is also an expert in the field (assuming there is an actual human running that Giant Mecha..)
- In RWBY, Pyrrha has the power to control magnetic polarity. She uses this to throw her shield and make it come back, and in the episode "Forever Fall", she secretly uses this power to guide Jaune's shield in order to help him block a potentially One-Hit Kill blow from an Ursa, which helped Jaune turn the tide of the battle and defeat the creature. She can also use it for environmental kills like she did against Blake in the episode "Best Day Ever" by hurling a wall of soda cans during the food fight.
- However, how she usually uses her skill is subtly affecting her opponents' weapons and armor; creating openings, redirecting attacks, etc. such that her opponents don't even know she's doing it. This is how she has the nickname "The Invincible Warrior." (If they don't know she's doing it, they won't counter.)
- In "PvP", Emerald makes Pyrrha hallucinate an overwhelming number of blades being thrown against her by Penny during the tournament. Pyrrha overreacts and emits a devastating magnetic wave that rips Penny's metallic body apart.
- In "The End of the Beginning, Pyrrha is able to use her Semblance to make a broken elevator carry her to Ozpin's office and then makes extensive use of it during her fatal battle with Cinder. Ultimately, while she does manage to put up a fight and even surprise Cinder several times, Cinder is too powerful and kills her.