Magneto - Phase 1

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This page is about the Phase 1 incarnation of the villain. For other uses, see Magneto (disambiguation).


Erik Lehnsherr - Deceased
Portrayed by Ian McKellen
Known Aliases: Magneto
Affiliations: Brotherhood of Mutants
Socked By: Modsock
Introduction: X-Men

One of the most powerful mutants on the planet, Magneto has been an antagonist of the X-Men for many years. Along with his Brotherhood, he seeks the supremacy of the mutant race over the mass of homo sapiens humanity.


Name: Erik Lehnsherr

Aliases: Magneto

Affiliation: Brotherhood of Mutants

First appearance: X-Men

Family: Magda (wife, deceased), Wanda Maximoff (daughter), Pietro Maximoff (son)


Erik Lehnsherr was born in Gdansk, Poland to a working-class Jewish family. In 1944, his family was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where all but Erik perished. It was at this time Erik first manifested his powers, as he was separated from his parents, but the subsequent deprivation, lack of nutrition and poor treatment caused his powers to go into remission, not fully emerging again until many years later. As a young orphan, Lehnsherr journeyed to America and eventually met Charles Xavier in college. The two forged a strong friendship over mutual interests such as science and social politics.

In the 1970s, Erik returned to Europe to find his roots, marrying a Romani woman, Magda. In 1976, Magda bore Erik children, Wanda and Pietro. However, shortly thereafter during a riot, Erik's mutant powers of magnetism fully emerged and, thinking his wife and children dead, he lashed out, killing many of the rioters. Horrified by what her husband had become, Magda fled with the children to her Rom clan, where Erik could not find her.

Erik then returned to America to assist Charles with the founding of his school. Charles and Erik searched out young mutants and trained them in the use of their abilities, with the goal of both protecting them and integrating mutants into society. Over time, however, Erik became disillusioned with Charles' aims, instead espousing a philosophy of mutant superiority over humanity. Reaching the breaking point of their friendship, Erik left the school intent on protecting "his people" from another Holocaust, by any means necessary.

Erik reappeared years later, having taken the guise of Magneto, and having gathered other mutants to his side to form the Brotherhood of Mutants. One of their first overt terrorist acts was the kidnapping and murder of Senator Robert Kelly, followed by an attempted attack on UN diplomats at Liberty Island, an attempt which was foiled by the X-Men.

After the Liberty Island incident, Magneto was imprisoned without trial in a secret government facility, overseen by William Stryker - Phase 1, who used sadistic interrogation methods to force Erik to divulge what secrets he knew about Charles Xavier and his X-Men. Freed from prison by Mystique, Magneto actually assisted the X-Men in foiling Stryker's plans, and left afterwards to regroup with the Brotherhood.

Of recent, Magneto has shown a habit of using other mutants, often young children, to accomplish his goals. While he has not shied away from direct conflict with humanity, he has often used manipulation to further his cause, including the kidnappings of Forge and Julio Richter, and brainwashing Lorna Dane into believing she was Lehnsherr's daughter. Rumours of his romantic involvement with Mystique are unsubstantiated.

Magneto's stated goal is the survival of the mutant race, and he espouses outright domination over homo sapiens as the preferred route to this survival. His philosophies reflect his ideals, and have been spread online as The Lehnsherr Manifesto, and used both as inspiration by like-minded mutants and as fuel for growing anti-mutant sentiment in groups such as the Friends of Humanity.

After Quicksilver revealed his true intentions, Sabretooth was taken into custody, and Mystique found herself in the hands of the Chinese authorities for a time, Magneto presumably went to ground in one of his secret bases to plan a recovery from these setbacks. At some point, Mystique reappeared, and Magneto turned his attention to recruitment, bringing Nimrod into the Brotherhood. Recently, he resurfaced in Dagestan with the intention of liberating mutant prisoners from a special facility there. He took custody of Ilyas Saidullayev following a rampage by the Chechen telekinetic.

His involvement in Russian mutant affairs came back to haunt him as a rogue group within the Russian military implemented a long-running plan and used a satellite weapons system and the threatened execution of mutant prisoners to lure him into a trap. The trap failed in spectacular fashion, and Magneto commandeered a spacecraft and took over the secret Russian space station where the backup controls for the weapons satellites were housed. When he issued demands, threatening the destruction of Washington and Moscow, the X-Men ventured into space to stop him. Though they were successful, Magneto and most of the Brotherhood escaped.

In February 2013, it was discovered that Magneto had settled an all mutant island supposedly with the intention of creating a peaceful mutant utopia, though it was later discovered that he was using the undersea volcano to amplify his magnetic powers, making the island impenetrable to assault. He was driven off the island when the X-Men came to rescue Garrison Kane and Adrienne Frost, who had been shipwrecked there. Since then Magneto has gone off the grid again, along with the rest of his vastly expanded Brotherhood.

InJanuary 2015, Magneto and the Brotherood resurfaced, staging a large attack against Muir Island. The X-Men arrived to try and stop them, resulting in casualties on both sides, and the facilities on Muir were destroyed, most of the inhabitants killed. Jean Grey struck back by going after Magneto himself, and she killed him in a fit of rage.


Magneto can sense and manipulate magnetic fields, as well as control some forms of electromagnetic energy. He has used this ability to control amounts of metal as minute as a few grams of iron in a prison guard's bloodstream and as massive as an entire sunken oil platform.

While Magneto's power primarily affects ferrous metals, he can control magnetic fields to such an extent that he can manipulate other metals and structures. He has also been able to create 'bubbles' of magnetic force that repel any object he can affect with his powers.

Magneto cannot affect his own body with his powers, but has used even trace amounts of metal on his person both to armor himself, to levitate, and to travel at high speeds underwater through the use of a metallic cocoon. Recently, Garrison Kane discovered that Magneto has perfected subconscious control over the metal in his clothing, providing him with instantly reactive body armor.

In addition to his mutant powers, Magneto is also a brilliant engineer and scientist, surpassed only by Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggart in the field of mutant genetics.



X-Men Mission: Baltimore

X-Men Mission: Pyro

One To The Chest

Sound and Fury

With Malice Aforethought

X-Men Mission: Merry Christmas Magneto

The Rictor Effect

Alexander's Wall

Thirteen Days

Third Strike

Tropic of Capricorn

A Touch Of Brimstone


During the time when Forge and Lorna were unwilling guests of Magneto and the Brotherhood, many details about Lehnsherr's personal habits were discovered:

  • He is an avid canasta player, and dislikes chess.
  • He tends to never leave any food uneaten during meals, a holdover from his time in Auschwitz.
  • He adores cilantro.

Forge later wrote a book about Magneto, entitled Polarity: The Biography of Erik Lehnsherr.


Socked by: TBD for the Mods

PB: Ian McKellen