"I am no hero. Merely a man who has seen and done and endured what can never be forgotten or forgiven."
— Uncanny X-Men #196
It is rather insufferable to think that I am this late to the game. The psychotic jester, that twisted alien with the ring, the bald lunatic, and that tin-plated egomaniac have all had their own pages here for months, and yet I, Magneto, have only been given my own space today. It is a cruel injustice that must be set right, but should I have expected any different treatment fromHomo sapiens?
In my role as a so-called villain and opponent to the X-Men, I was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. First appearing in "X-Men" vol. 1 #1 (September, 1963). The story of my life however, begins rather earlier - A Jew, I was born in Weimar Republic Germany in the late 1920s before moving to Poland with my parents in 1939... and those of you with remedial historical training can venture a guess as to where this is heading. As a young man I witnessed and endured some of the very worst of what humanity had to offer. My family was murdered when I was just a boy, and dumped in a mass grave before my very eyes; soon after I was myself sent to that hell called Auschwitz and on several occasions I thought I was going to share their fate, while as a Sonderkommando I was forced, on pain of death, to mete out that same fate to thousands of other innocents as at gunpoint I and others were made to assist in genocide, to assist those monsters in their gas chambers and furnaces. Lame with hepatitis, all hope and reason crushed under the mad Nazi jackboot, I am ready to admit that so many times I was tempted to resign myself to my black fate.
But if Max Eisenhardt was anything, he was a survivor.
The one good thing I remember from those years was my darling love, Magda, a Gypsy girl interned with me, and during the October 7th revolt in 1944 the pair of us managed to make our escape. We fled to the Ukraine and lived out the remainder of the war and its aftermath in relative peace with her family, and Magda bore us a daughter, Anya. We were happy together, though I hid from my wife a great secret I was only just uncovering myself- I was a mutant, born with the power to manipulate magnetic fields and master the entire electro-magnetic spectrum.
Our peaceful life was not to last. While we lived in the Soviet city of Vinnitsa (alas, the simple life of a Roma did not suit me), I was cheated out of my pay by my employer and, in anger, used my powers consciously for the first time by throwing a crowbar at him through sheer will alone. In retaliation, driven on by fear of what they could not understand, the people of Vinnitsa formed a mob and burned down the inn where Magda, Anya and I were living. When I saw my daughter's burning body fall out of her room, prevented from helping her by KGB minions who held me down and battered me repeatedly, I did not take it well. I unleashed the fury of my new found powers, killing the thugs who held me down, the animals who killed my daughter, and tearing a chunk of their wretched city to the ground. Magda survived, but my power, and my temporary insanity, terrified her into fleeing, leaving me alone to bury our daughter (and when Soviet troops attempted to stop me doing so, I turned their guns on them and pulled their triggers).
It would be decades before I found out that Magda had been pregnant when she fled. I never saw her again, for she died shortly after giving birth. My last memory of my wife is of her screaming in horror and terror at me.
I fled Europe, fled the pain and anguish and the torment, and began traveling, eventually making my way to Israel where I did volunteer work in a psychiatric hospital for Holocaust survivors, those who understandably were overwhelmed by the sheer barbarity of it all. Another volunteer at that hospital was a young American named Charles Xavier, and I was destined to be his best friend and greatest enemy. Charles and I discussed many things, foremost amongst them the fate of mutantkind and the threat posed to it by a world that hates and fears us. Charles, in his simple naivetÚ, thought that humans and mutants could live peacefully together, but his only taste of humanity's bestial nature was being bullied by his oaf of a stepbrother, and some brief time as a medic in the Korean War. I, however, had been weaned on a diet of nothing but man's inhumanity; I had seen nightmarish horrors the likes of which Xavier could not begin to imagine, and I was resolved, I was determined, that such a thing must not happen twice. Mutants, Homo superior, would not have to repeat the history of my sorry childhood. We had not yet revealed to each other that we were both, ourselves, mutants.
I saw once and for all that Charles' views and mine were incompatible once we were drawn into battle with those Neo-Nazi trash known as HYDRA, who had abducted our friend Gabrielle Haller because she knew the location of a hoard of Nazi Gold. We both revealed our powers that day and overpowered the HYDRA agents, Xavier with his boundless telepathic might and I with my ever-growing mastery over the forces of magnetism. But a fellow mutant, the first one I had ever met, refused to deal with these pond scum with the harsh hand they deserved. In disgust, and realizing we had nothing more to say to one another, I took the gold for myself and left.
The final nail in the coffin was when I worked for a Western intelligence agency, tasked with hunting down Nazi war criminals while maintaining my cover as a Double Agent for Mossad, and handing over those murderers to Israel for a richly deserved trial and justice. I had fallen in love again, my darling Isabelle, but my Western masters - who had been well aware of what I was up to, but had up to now condoned it - decided that my latest capture, a worthless architect of misery named Hans Richter, was too valuable to surrender to his fate. They recruited him and murdered Isabelle right in front of my eyes, for which I hunted down each one of my controllers and paid them in kind.
In the face of ever growing anti-mutant persecution, I remade myself as Magneto, a living example of mutant superiority, of mutant existence, so as to make a statement that mutants no longer had to hide in the shadows. I declared war on humankind, because I realized that force was the only thing humans understood, and the only thing that would save mutants from an identical fate. Xavier, now a cripple, made clear he opposed my plans, and I clashed time and time again with his band of mutant heroes, the X-Men. They thwarted plan after plan, and battled me and my Brotherhood, amongst whom were two bitter young mutant twins called the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver - whom I later learnt were Wanda and Pietro, my children by Magda, though unfortunately only after my radical ways had proceeded to alienate us from one another.
In the face of endless opposition, from my own kind and my own children, as well as non-mutant superhumans such as The Avengers, who accepted Wanda and Pietro into their ranks, I have learnt to soften my stance somewhat. I have even joined the X-Men myself from time to time, and worked with them to combat greater mutual menaces. But I stand by my most core belief. I have seen the lowest depths of human evil; I may have dragged myself from the abyss of my own hypocrisy, but though I am no longer as bent on genocide and domination does not mean mutants are safe. The safety and well being of my people are of paramount importance, and rest assured, human troper, I am prepared to do anything to ensure our survival and prosperity, and to avert the repetition of history which would see mutantkind consigned to the death camps.
If I live by any creed, it is this; Never. Again.
Despite my resentment towards humans, I admit that some of them have portrayed me in a clever way in the films. The actors that played me are Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender. My voice was also given by David Hemblen, Christopher Judge, Tony Jay, Richard Green, John DiMaggio, and TomKane.
Examples of how my character may be described:
Adaptational Heroism: In the 90s X-Men cartoon, because the show was basing its stories what was current in the comics and at the time wasn't an antagonist, I actually was an ally to the X-Men in most of my appearences.
Ambiguously Jewish: Well, I am. This is sometimes intentional however. Marvel at one point Retconned my ethnic status away while they were preparing for one of my more vicious phases, afraid that such a villain being Jewish would seem anti-Semitic and cause problems. Naturally, no one wondered if it was anti-mutant.
And if you're wondering what they changed me to, it was, as I sort of mentioned before, a Sinte. It was a rather disingenuous move given their motivations.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: My incarnation in the Ultimate Marvel universe is this, feeling that not only mutants should reign, but that encourages the active murder of normal humans even when it serves no purpose, nor does he have an actual reason to hate humans, not being a Holocaust survivor like myself. That this psychotic charlatan dares claim the mantle of Master Of Magnetism is an insult, and he should count himself lucky that he was killed by that universe's Cyclops in retaliation for the cataclysm he caused, as I would have found a way to destroy him for tainting my name eventually.
Astral Projection: It's suggested I learned how to do this despite not having any Psychic Powers of my own, though perhaps it is merely that, though I do have psychic powers, I prefer to use my Magnetism. I would prefer not to say.
The Atoner: I have in many days attempted to atone for my misdeeds, a result of my status as the main villainwith good aims adversary to Charles and his X-Men. During one of my atonement phases, I even joined them
Make that two, since I'm currently allying with them once again. I do not know how long this will last.
In an alternate universe, I had made a deal with an entity from another universe hoping to give mutants a fighting chance, but I soon learned to my horror that I had brought a deadly virus to Earth, and I devoted the remainder of my life in that universe to saving as many people, human AND mutant, as I could from the monsters that were once heroes.
Dark Messiah: I will use any means necessary to bring mutants back into dominance. My people have even considered me their "Mutant Messiah" in contrast to Charles' approach.
After the events of Avengers Vs X Men, I have bequeathed the role to Cyclops, as he alone is responsible for the plan that has brought back mutantkind from the brink. It is not often that even I am impressed.
How reliant I am on my helmet to resist telepathy, tends to depend on whether humans remember I have telepathic talents of my own. I'm not sure when it started, but it appears they've mistaken my helmet for that of Charles' unruly step brother.
On another occasion, I worked with several of the Marvel Universe's most despicable villains, including the Red Skull, in what was colloquially referred to as the "Acts of Vengeance", in an attempt to destroy the "heroes" who constantly interfered with our plans. The bile still rises in my throat when I think of working with that... Nazi... although in retrospect I realize that I and the other participants in the plot were manipulated by Loki the trickster god.
Even Evil Has Standards: Well I'm not evil, first of all. I use the term ironically to defy you homo sapiens' nonsensical moral applications, such as when I named my organization the Brotherhood of "Evil" Mutants. I am far more moral than the likes of Sebastian Shaw, Apocalypse or William Stryker. I work for a cause. They work only for themselves. And don't even mention the Red Skull to me. Then you will see how "evil" I can be.
Evil Plan: My methods can be rather... extreme, I will admit but in truth I should be lauded for my efforts to prevent mutant genocide. Only a homo sapien would consider creating at utopia for them instead to be evil.
Extra Ore Dinary: Whatever the writers decide my powers, I can always control metal.
Final Boss: In nearly every Video Game about the X-Men ever made. It would be easier to list the ones that don't feature me as this.
Forgot About My Powers: There was an incident in which Reed Richards managed to dupe me with a wooden gun. The sheer simplicity of his trick dumbfounded me to the point in which the authorities took me in without incident. To this day I still cannot explain what happened.
Freudian Excuse: Back in my day, it was called the Holocaust. No, seriously, Freud can suck his own cigar for insinuating genocide stems from a couple whips with a riding crop.
...no, that's not quite right. That wraps things up too nicely. The Holocaust happened, and I survived, even attempting to not let such an event shape me negatively. Then my daughter was killed by you vile lot, I discovered and unleashed my powers to deal deserved judgment...and, regrettably, my beloved Magda left me in fear soon after I had unleashed my wrath upon the culprits responsible.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Once I was just a simple young man until my family saw just how horrible humans can be. Though it was after their murder of my daughter that I became fully devoted to my cause. Had they simply left me alone, I would have stayed Max Eisenhardt. But now, I am so much more. Now, I am Magneto.
Glass Cannon: My powers are typically present highly destructive even if all the writers can think is manipulating metal, but at the same time I myself am no durable than any normal man.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: Goes without saying but when my eyes are aglow you would be smarter not to get in my way.
Good Is Dumb: During the first period I had running Xavier's Institute, I had made some exceedingly foolish decisions, I will admit.
Green Lantern Ring: Magnetism is capable of anything in my hands. For example, my Magnetic Attraction power can hypnotize the less mentally capable. I have somehow also magnetically lifted various objects and entities that logically I should not have been able to, like simple water. I can even manipulate the entire electro-magnetic spectrum albeit without the same potency as regular magnetism, and once in a while I display some latent telepathic powers.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: I shall always do what needs to be done to safeguard the future of mutantkind - regardless of whether others consider my actions "good" or "evil." Evidently, I am currently a "face" in such terminology after I had yanked miss Kitty Pryde off of what you Homo tropiens might call the Bus.
Humans Are Bastards: Tell me this, can YOU continue to champion human democracy and gentleness if you had seen AND felt EXACTLY what hand your kind dealt to me and other mutants around the world?! You would be a fool or a similar prejudiced scum to believe otherwise!
I Have Many Names: Erik Magnus Lehnsherr and other shortened variants such as Erik Magnus, Magneto (well, of course), The Master of Magnetism. To be honest my REAL name is Max Eisenhardt, a German-Polish Jew. In most other retellings, I am content with simply "Magnus".
Joker Immunity: I'm arguably Marvel's premier example. This website has brought up I might well hold for intended permanent deaths, de-poweres, and lobotomies to render me harmless, so much so that tropes have suggested this trope might have been named after me if the Joker didn't exist.
I also once did this with Fabian Cortez, a treacherous mutant supremacist that in past tried to kill me, manipulate wars between humans and mutants that led to the destruction a save haven for mutants I created, and also tried to using my granddaughter as a human shield, flinging him miles away and then smashing him into the ground.
Knight Templar: In the past I have done whatever it takes to ensure prosperity for mutantkind. And naturally, how far I am forced to go depends on who's writing at the moment.
Large Ham: How else can I show that I'm superior to you human beings than with powerful speech and gestures?
Light 'em Up: I have occasionally manipulated the visible electromagnetic spectrum to make myself invisible. I do have a slight white motif with my hair and lightning, but I don't go pretentiously overboard.
Lightning Can Do Anything: If there's no possible way for my magnetism to pull off a certain insane feat, that is there the "electro" prefix of "electromagnetism" comes in.
Love Triangle: I am part of one, locked in combat with that insolent Cajun Remy LeBeau (Better known as Gambit, to you) for the affections of the mutant Rogue.
Rogue promises nothing about the future, but I have won the triangle for now.
Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Though I object to you humans labeling me as 'mad,' I do have a rather comely daughter by the name of Polaris. Unfortunately, the X-Men got to her before I did, and she now actively fights against me, refusing to see reason. It saddens me, but I suppose this is part of being a parent.
I also have another comely daughter called Wanda, who once robbed me - and most other of Earth's mutants - of the power that is my birthright. How sharper than a serpent's tooth, indeed. I got better, though. And Wanda and Lorna had an elder sister called Anya. Oh Anya...
Mad Dictators Handsome Son: Then there is my son, Pietro. We have a relationship best defined as... complex. At times, he fiercely opposes me and my goals for mutant supremacy, and I will declare that I Have No Son since he refuses to rule by my side, even after I go through such effort to involve him in my plans to be part of the Brotherhood or lead Genosha as a mutant paradise. In some cases, it is I who cannot help but be austere and demanding as Pietro attempts to fulfill my goals to the best of his abilities. The less said about the House of M, the better. However, I have never been able to remain indifferent to him, and it isn't long until I attempt to influence his life for the better, as any good father should. As it stands, we have been able to refrain from violence, but we are a long way from reconciliation.
May-December Romance: Some people claim to be bothered by the age difference between myself and lovely Rogue, even though thanks to being turned into a baby by Alpha the "Ultimate Mutant" and later returned to adulthood by a Shi'ar agent, I now have a body that is physically in its thirties. And the age difference is never brought up when people talk about Wolverine's romantic relationships with women of roughly Rogue's age (Jean Grey, Mariko Yashida, Yukio, etc.) even though he is old enough to be my grandfather. But double standards have always been Homo sapiens' hallmark. Regardless, it has been brought to my attention that me and Rogue have married and started a family in more than one universe, which... does not displease me.
Meaningful Name: My original name, Max Eisenhardt, is quite poetic, actually. "Eisen" is the German word for "Iron". "Hardt" sounds like German ("hart") and English ("hard"), which both mean the same thing. "Max" connotes intensity. Who would have guessed a man with such a name would later become the hardened master of metal manipulation?
In German names, the "-hard/hardt/hart" suffix originally means "strong"; it is also present e. g. in "Bern(h)ard" (strong as a bear) or "Gerhard" (strong with the spear). Thus "Eisenhardt" means "strong as iron", or in my case also: strong with iron.
Morality Pet: at times, Kitty Pryde - fellow mutant and fellow Jew - seems to serve in this capacity.
Never My Fault: Some humans pretend that my actions have harmed more of my fellow mutants and hurt the cause of mutant rights than they have ever helped, and that I'm pinning the blame for that on humanity. They sure are fine ones to think of me this way!
No Pronunciation Guide: Until dramatic media made the way I prefer my name to be pronounced more widely known, certain engineering ignoramuses insisted on pronouncing it "magnet-oh", which sounds like some stage conjuror's pseudonym.
Noble Demon: Pretend you never met me or knew of what massacres I had been forced to commit and place yourself in my position: Wouldn't you do anything to protect your loved ones and your people from harm?
Not So Different: Many had tried this on me, but none had enraged me as much as when that disgusting Nazi Red Skull did this. I paid him back in kind.
Psycho Electro: Not exactly hotheaded, but still a dangerous little stamp. Of course, a lot of that is due to my ▄bermensch ideals...
Put on a Bus: It seems that when I've battled humanity for "too long", I end up swept aside so other villains can "take the splitlight for a while" or other such rot. You equate this to a mere TV show? This is a war I battle! But if I must, the first instance was after my 12th battle when I unexpectedly found myself a prisoner of a an unexpected extra terrestrial called the Stranger.
Putting on the Reich: People ill-knowing of what I have been through tend to bring up my domination of San Marco, wherein I had an army of mercenaries, outfitted with Waffen-SS surplus uniforms. The stylized "M" armbands were one step away from swastikas, otherwise the resemblance to that monster Adolf Hitler was total. Wait, what am I saying? I would never engage in such a vile act after I had been a victim of it! What an insult!
The Rival: Charles Xavier, a result of our differing views on whether mutantkind and man can live in peace or not; in the wider Marvel Universe, my rival is instead Doctor Doom, me being the closest he considers himself to have as legitimate competition.
Shock and Awe: A primary attack of mine, aside from throwing any amount of tons of metal at my enemies, is shooting bolts of lightning. And don't expect to turn my own powers against me either.
Shooting Superman: Most Homo sapiens obviously never learn that bullets are made of metal. There have been attempts to counter my abilities with non-metallic ballistics, but mutant gifts continuously outpace feeble human innovations in every capacity.
The X-Men themselves did this when they sent Wolverine, whose skeleton is magnetic due to his adamentium bones, on a team to deal with me. They should have known better.
Slave Brand: I will forever carry the tattoo of a Nazi concentration camp upon my skin.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: A character-personified version, with Charles on the admirable but foolish Idealism end and me vice versa. Although really, it is more what you call "realism" than mindless pessimism.
Some of My Best Friends Are X: Before I met Rogue I generally was romantically or sexually involved with non-mutant women - dear departed Magda, Isabelle, Polaris's mother, the back-stabbing Wasp, and Cyclops' former lover Lee Forrester.
Spell My Name with an S: Those who have set themselves to the worthy task of chronicling my deeds are often confused as to the spelling of my preferred civilian name. Erik is sometimes written as Eric, and Lehnsherr is written as Lensherr as often as not.
Steven Ulysses Perhero: Yes, my "human" name translates roughly into "intensely strong iron". Plus, I have used "Magnus" as a middle name since the ill-fated incident that cost me the closest to family I could ever experience. Though, I believe that "Magneto" is a far more superior and indicative moniker.
Strong as They Need to Be: As this page states, my powers are essentially limited to whatever the writers can think of with magnetism, which means they can vary considerable from one story to another.
Superpower Lottery: Several consider me the most powerful mutant alive due to how almost godlike my powers of magnetism can become.
Though in media such as thoseanimatedcartoons and the films, I limit myself. Realistically, I should be able to: turn invisible (due to visible light being a type of electromagnetic radiation), phase shift (electromagnetism is what keeps solid objects from passing through one another and thus I could deactivate this and walk through walls or go beyond that and become completely invincible), unleash any kind of laser blasts at my foes (once again light is electromagnetic radiation as is everything on this chart◊), and even create optical illusions via, again, manipulation of light.
To further elaborate, electromagnetism is arguably the most interesting of the four fundamental forces in that its scope, and thus the scope of my powers, encompasses virtually everything in the universe. I explicitly control half of physics, all of chemistry (which when boiled down is the study of protons, neutrons, and electrons), and most of biology (which is a combination of chemistry and physics). In fact, because I can manipulate valence electrons, I can force chemical reactions to occur that are normally impossible or make reactions that normally occur not happen. The EM spectrum by itself gives me heat vision, x-ray vision, illusions and invisibility, I am my own radio and can mess with yours, I can produce the deadliest form of radiation, and I can microwave food on a whim (helps with the below trope). Furthermore, I can manipulate peoples' nervous systems which after all run on electrical signals (this may be the best explanation for "Magnetic Attraction"), flash freeze or heat matter by imparting or taking away kinetic energy through protons and electrons, transmute anything into any other thing by rearranging particles at the subatomic level, disintegrate anything bigger than a nucleus, hijack electronics, and a good number of other interesting effects. The long and short of it is: if it can be done via natural means, I can do it.
You would do well to remember that, during the Acts of Vengeance, I once battled Spider-Man to a standstill. If that feat sounds unimpressive, bear in mind that he was possessed of otherworldly cosmic powers at the time.
Supreme Chef: As you know, I am no savage. To go along with my vast powers I am also quite the skilled cook. It was a necessity during my time as a child prisoner of Nazi concentration camps.
▄bermensch: It's not easy to consider me "nice" in any respect but I believe myself to have my own type of moral code that allows me to believe that it will all mean well in the end, placing myself as leader, and having to eliminate the inferiors. To any medical evaluator that deems himself worthy of judging me (more so if it's a human psychologist) that would thus make me a sociopath ideologue with typical monstrous egomania and entitled ruthlessness; others at least put me in a more sympathetic light.
Unskilled, but Strong: Subverted, as there is a very, VERY good reason they call me "The Master of Magnetism" as I am one of the strongest mutants on earth, as well as having great skill and creativity in how I implement my mutant abilities. Considering magnetism is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, I should be held in high regard by humans and mutants alike and it also helps that I am a learned scientist in my own right, so I WOULD know how best to use them.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: It would certainly appear to you that my powers have left my mind damaged from the constant use, leaving me in a state of constant irritation and agitation.
Many would also attempt to remember that ridiculous period in which I, after posing as Xorn, he conquered Manhattan Island and turned it into, more or less, a concentration camp for humans, complete with gas chambers and/or crematoriums. Even with one of my own likening my the imitator's actions to Nazi Germany. Of course that never REALLY happened, and was attributed to my addiction to the mutant-power-boosting drug "Kick". Then they tried to claim the drug was actually a sentient virus. What REALLY REALLY happened was when Wolverine decapitated the thing, revealing its TRUE identity as the REAL Xorn's Evil Twin, imitating me imitating Xorn! That one human wearing the hat and gluing himself to that settee has a point when he notes how other, gloriously incompetent humans wonder why new readers can't get into comics. I certainly can't after this mess.
Worthy Opponent: Our conflicting ideologies aside, Charles Xavier is still my dearest friend, and has done more to help mutants than anyone in the world (besides myself).