There is, perhaps, a no more iconic villain to the iconic X-Men team than that of the magnetic marvel, Max Eisenhardt (or Erik Lensherr, depending on who’s being asked), otherwise known as Magneto. One of the most captivating things about Magneto is that not only is he a devastatingly powerful mutant, he’s also not entirely wrong in his approach to the humans that stand so far below him.
Time and time again, Magneto has proven to Charles Xavier that his methods simply do not hold any ground against the humans, who are seemingly willing to do anything to end the “threat” of mutant-kind. Magneto’s life is one painted with prejudice, trauma and tragedy. Unfortunately for the Nazis and prejudiced humans alike, he’s one of the very few mutants with both the power and character to do something about it.
10 The Warsaw Ghetto
At this point in comics history, it’s fairly common knowledge that perhaps more than any other mutant alive, Magneto has experienced the extremes of prejudice and xenophobia. Born in the lates 20s to German Jewish parents, (then) Max Eisenhardt and his family would flee to Poland in 1935.
After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, however, the young Magneto and his family would be sent to the Warsaw ghetto, the largest of all the ghettos in German-occupied Europe. However, Max and his family would not be content to sit idly by in the ghetto while the Nazis continued making their way through Europe.
9 Escape And Execution
Though Max and his family were incredibly strong-willed and attempted to escape the confines of the Warsaw ghetto, they were betrayed before they could reach freedom and subsequently executed and thrown into a mass grave. Possibly due to his mutant powers manifesting, Max was spared, and crawled out of the mass grave before attempting to run to freedom.
It is during this attempt to reach freedom that Max is again caught and sent to Auschwitz where he is forced to work as a sonderkommando. While things are, in fact, terribly grim for Max, it is in Auschwitz where he reunites with his childhood friend, Magda, who he will eventually marry and have a child with.
8 Losing His Daughter And Wife
During the revolt of October 4, 1944, Max and Magda manage to escape Auschwitz and luckily for Max, the escape attempt will actually lead to freedom for both he and Magda. Though the young couple had managed to escape the worst of the war with their lives intact, once in Ukraine they find themselves and their daughter, Anya, no safer than the war they had left behind.
After witnessing Max (now Magnus) use his mutant abilities, a mob of angry villagers comes to his home and burns it down with Max’s daughter inside. Rightfully pissed off, Magneto does what Magneto will from here on out continue to do, kill. He uses his mutant abilities and kills everyone involved with the incident, and even destroys part of the town. After seeing both his rage and power, Magda hops on the very next “F That” train to nopesville and leaves Magneto behind.
7 He’s Changed His Name Multiple Times
For someone with a history like Max’s, it’s understandable that the guy has some pretty major trust issues. His family being betrayed and executed right before his eyes, villagers burning his daughter alive, his wife leaving him and not telling him about the twin babies (Wanda and Pietro).
There are just so many reasons for Magneto to have some serious issues when it comes to trust. Not to mention that he’s a regularly wanted man. Well, with these facts in mind, Max (or Magnus, or Erik, or Magneto) has changed his name over and over again throughout his history in order to avoid being detected by whoever may currently be hunting him down.
6 Erik And Charles
After killing a whole mess of people and destroying part of a Ukrainian town, Max (then Magnus) had become a fairly wanted man. So it is at this point that Max commissions a forger to create the identity of one “Erik Lehnsherr”.
After relocating to Israel, Erik has a run-in with one Charles Xavier. The two men get to talking and begin discussing the repercussions that the rise of the mutant race could have on humanity, and while neither reveals to the other that he is a mutant, Erik begins to understand that he and this Charles Xavier will likely never share a compatible view of the situation.
5 From The Biggest Bullets To The Smallest Molecules
While Magneto’s ability to control electromagnetic fields may seem like pretty small potatoes compared to reality-warpers like Franklin Richards and Mister M, Magneto is still, in fact, one of only fourteen confirmed Omega-level mutants, which essentially means there are no upper limits to his abilities.
From pulling the gigantic breakworld bullet back to Earth after it had left the solar system to controlling the iron in the body of an opponent and even opening up wormholes, Magneto, much like his Co-megas, is nigh unstoppable when he puts his mind to something.
While Magneto has some truly incredible feats under his belt, one of his most iconic feats can be found in Journey Into Mystery #109.
Though Magneto has time and again shown himself to be one of the most persistent and thoughtful villains in the entirety of the Marvel landscape, during the events of Journey Into Mystery #109, he was actually able to wield Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.
Okay, maybe wield isn’t actually the right word. What he was actually able to do was manipulate the electromagnetic fields around the hammer in order to control its trajectory. Maybe not worthy, but certainly worthy-ish, at the very least.
3 Generation And Manipulation Of Lightning
Magneto, as his name may imply, is often regarded as that magnetic villain. While his powers do encompass electromagnetic elements, many people often forget or simply don’t realize that Magneto is also a master at producing electricity, hence the “electro” in electromagnetic.
This component of his abilities means that it’s just as easy for Magneto to produce and manipulate lighting as it would be for his fellow Omega-level mutant, Storm. Despite the fact that his magnetic powers seem to be relatively basic compared to some of the other mutants found on the Omega-level threat list, the various ways that Magneto has been able to masterfully use these abilities is what makes him truly powerful.
2 He Ripped The Adamantium Out Of Wolverine’s Body
Wolverine is one of the most iconic and steadfast members of the X-Men. While he is no stranger to taking a life when he deems it necessary, he has remained one of the mainstays of the legendary team. As powerful and persistent as he is, Wolverine is simply not made to go up against a villain with Magneto’s power set.
This fact is made no more evident than during the events of Fatal Attraction (Uncanny X-Men Vol.2 #25, to be precise). During the course of a battle against the X-Men, Magneto loses his patience when it comes to Wolverine and goes further than ever before (excluding the Ultimate Universe where he kills Wolverine) and painfully removes the Adamantium coating from Wolverine’s skeleton. In the aftermath of this vicious attack on Wolverine, who almost dies, Professor X wipes Magneto’s mind and the X-Men discover Wolverine’s bone claws.
1 Defeating The Avengers Single-Handedly
Though Magneto is most commonly associated with the X-Men, throughout the course of his long-running history in comics, Magneto has found himself at odds with many of Marvel’s greatest heroes. In fact, on several occasions, Magneto has found himself at odds with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers.
Though they may, in fact, be the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, apparently their combined forces are nothing when compared to one of Earth’s Mightiest Villains, Magneto. During the event of Magneto: Dark Seduction, Magneto was able to leave an entire team of Avengers seething and writhing on the ground after reversing their blood flow. And that’s just one example of the several times that he’s single-handedly defeated the Avengers.