Other than Wolverine, the fan-favorite character of the entire X-Men franchise may be Magneto, the self-proclaimed Master of Magnetism. Once a young Jewish boy who barely survived the Nazi concentration camps, the man who has gone by such names as Erik Lehnsherr and Max Eisenhardt has risen to become one of the most powerful figures in the entire Marvel Universe.
The key to Magneto’s appeal is the complexity of his character: depending on who you ask, Magneto is either a villain or a hero; a mutant revolutionary or an egomaniacal terrorist. Even in Charles Xavier’s own school, some children wear T-shirts proclaiming the slogan “Magneto was right.” But whether we see him as a bad guy or an antihero, whether we agree with his cause or not, one thing can’t be argued: he has killed a lot of people.
Many lives have been lost for Magneto’s cause. While he would argue that it’s all for the sake of mutant survival, the fact is that Magneto’s metal-manipulating hands are covered in blood — and many of those lost lives are more innocent than he might like to admit. Now that it’s looking like Michael Fassbender’s Magneto may be coming back to the big screen in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, let’s look back on Magneto’s dark past, and uncover 15 Times That Magneto Killed People.
15. His Son, Quicksilver
Magneto isn’t the easiest guy to have as your dad. Just ask Pietro Maximoff, AKA Quicksilver. The movie version of Quicksilver played by Evan Peters in X-Men: Apocalypse couldn’t even bring himself to tell Magneto that he was his son, and the comic version has often suffered loss, torment, and rejection at the hands of his father. However, this particular instance may have been the worst one yet.
The House of M storyline shows a world wherein the mentally unstable Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver’s sister, is manipulated by Quicksilver into creating a world ruled by Magneto, where mutants are the majority, and regular humans are the minority. When Marvel’s heroes rise up and rebel against this new reality, Magneto realizes what has happened, and blames Quicksilver for what he perceives as a total perversion of his philosophy. He then squashes his son beneath the body of a Sentinel.
Quicksilver is soon resurrected when the Scarlet Witch resets reality back to its normal state, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Magneto did kill his son, and quite intentionally. No taking back that one.
14. An Entire Russian Submarine Crew
In this story, Magneto holds the entire world hostage, issuing an ultimatum to Earth’s governments: either cede all control to his power, abandoning all their weapons, or he will end life on Earth. Not surprisingly, the major governments aren’t too happy about this. The Soviet Union’s response is to send a nuclear submarine his way. Not the best choice, since the sub is composed entirely of metal, so Magneto uses his powers to rip it apart, drowning the entire Russian crew.
This attack would come back to haunt him. Years later, when Magneto sought redemption for his past sins and joined the X-Men, he was made to stand trial for his crimes against humanity. This particular incident was a major part of the trial, with the Russian admiral who launched the submarine publicly speaking out against him.
Apocalypse took a long time to appear in the movies, but he’s been a major force within X-Men comics for decades. His single most popular storyline is Age of Apocalypse, a dark and brutal tale which depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which Xavier is dead, all of society has been crushed beneath En Sabah Nur’s giant blue heel, and Magneto leads the X-Men in a desperate rebellion against the mutant overlord.
The climax of the series occurs when the X-Men storm Apocalypse’s base. Apocalypse and Magneto come face-to-face, and in the epic battle, the Master of Magnetism uses his powers to rip the first mutant’s body in half, decimating him. As Apocalypse lays dying, Magneto takes a moment to mock his enemy’s “only the strong survive” philosophy, and walks away into a new future.
Magneto and Wolverine are more similar than either may realize. Both are impulsive, violent, driven by emotion, and more powerful than anyone around them. They’ve often come to blows, and they’ve often tried to kill each other. Magneto has used his control over Logan’s adamantium skeleton to brutalize the feral mutant in a horrific manner on multiple occasions. In the movies, he drowned Wolverine in Days of Future Past. In the Marvel Universe, he ripped all of the adamantium right off his skeleton.
But in the Ultimate Universe, Magneto actually killed his universe’s version of Wolverine — for good.
In the Ultimatum storyline, the heroes of the world band together to take down Magneto. Wolverine charges at him with his claws, but Magneto takes hold of his adamantium and rips it out. Magneto takes over Iron Man’s armor and Cyclops’s visor, using both to incinerate Logan’s flesh, leaving nothing but a charred skeleton. But before Wolverine dies, he does manage to pop his claws right into Magneto’s chest, dealing Erik a mortal wound, and ensuring that both of them die together.
11. Ultimate Charles Xavier
The lynchpin that holds the entire X-Men franchise together is the strained relationship between Erik and Charles Xavier, two characters that are both best friends and worst enemies. Arguably one of the worst things that could befall the mutant community would be if Magneto were to murder Charles, so it’s no surprise that many stories have explored the concept in various alternate realities.
The most notable of these also occurred in Ultimatum, the same story where Ultimate Wolverine died. The incident occurs when Magneto approaches Charles, informing him that he plans to cleanse the world. When Charles refers back to all of the times that he has stopped Magneto before, Erik snaps his friend’s neck with his bare hands.
10. The Brotherhood of Mutants
Technically, this isn’t the original Brotherhood of Mutants that Magneto had led for much of his career. It’s a team of clones — clones of the same mutants he called his friends and family, including Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Toad, Mastermind, and Blob, all of them mutated into monstrous new forms. This clone brotherhood is led by Erik’s own doppelganger, a being named “Joseph,” who has taken to dressing in Magneto’s old costume and committing casual mass murders.
Magneto might be powerful, but the odds of him taking down the entire Brotherhood are definitely tough, particularity when the entire team is trying to kill him. Nevertheless, Magneto ends up killing all of the clones, and he then finishes the battle off by defeating Joseph and sending him into imprisonment. X-Men fans weren’t too broken up about Joseph’s departure.
9. The Red Skull
There may have never been two Marvel supervillains more destined to come to blows than Magneto and the Red Skull, the Nazi war criminal that has menaced Captain America and the Avengers for decades. It’s actually surprising that they’ve only met each other a few times, but predictably, Erik has nothing but loathing for Johann Schmidt, believing that the villain is “evil incarnate.”
The first time that they meet, Magneto buries Red Skull alive in a bomb shelter, with nothing but a little water to survive. The Skull escapes this horrific fate, but the two cross paths again later on. After a brutal fight between the pair, Magneto crushes the Red Skull’s head beneath a block of cement.
8. Colton Hendry
Colton Hendry is an innocent man, taken captive into the facility of an anti-mutant hate group and forcibly transformed by the fusion of Sentinel parts to his flesh and blood body. With his free will taken away from him, the Colton Hendry cyborg is then programmed to seek out mutants and murder them with the powerful weaponry that has been fused to his body.
Though Hendry is eventually taken captive by the police and brought to court, Magneto — who is not aware that Hendry was modified against his will — is not interested in allowing a mutant killer to escape justice. He breaks into the courthouse and murders Hendry in cold blood. However, as soon as Erik learns of the terrible situation that Hendry was put into, he regrets his actions and seeks out the people who are responsible for destroying Hendry’s life.
7. Elizabeth Alain, with a paper clip
To get revenge on those who transformed Colton Hendry into a mutant-killing cyborg, Magneto follows the source, eventually leading him to the Sentinel facility he’s looking for… where he avenges Hendry in a thoroughly brutal fashion.
His hunt brings him to Dr. Elizabeth Alain, who is planning to use the Sentinel facility as a hiding place for humans who fear mutants. Though supposedly she has no intention to use the Sentinels for anything but the group’s own protection, the example of Colton Hendry gives Magneto no confidence in her. The doctor claims that she won’t give Magneto any of the answers he seeks, but he quickly proves her wrong by slicing into her body with a paper clip, and moving it through her with his powers in an excruciatingly painful fashion. Magneto successfully forces her to shut down the entire plant, but when she tries to rebel, he kills her by piercing the paper clip through her brain.
6. Countless Innocent Lives, When He Set Off an EMP in Fatal Attractions
Fatal Attractions is usually remembered as the story where Magneto forcibly removed all of the adamantium from Wolverine’s bones, an act which actually led Xavier to wipe his mind clean. However, Logan wasn’t the only person to suffer at Magneto’s hands in this storyline.
The carnage all goes down when Magneto and his Acolytes (at this point living aboard the space station Avalon) threaten to kill off the entirety of humanity. In response, the United Nations sets into motion a policy they have named the “Magneto Protocols,” which involves switching on a mass of satellites around the planet which effectively shut off Magneto’s magnetic powers. To retaliate, Magnets sets off an electromagnetic pulse across the entire planet. This wreaks havoc with all of Earth’s technology, no doubt slaughtering millions of people within hospitals, cars, planes, and who knows what else. When it comes to mass murder, this one action may be Magneto’s single most villainous moment.
5. Bucky Barnes
What, you thought that the Red Skull was going to be the only Captain America character on this list? Nope, Bucky’s been on the receiving hand of those magnetic powers as well.
In the Scarlet Witch’s House of M reality, Bucky Barnes — who was once Captain America’s partner, then spent decades as the Winter Soldier, before finally taking over as Captain America himself after Steve Rogers’s death in the superhero Civil War — also died at Magneto’s hands. In House of M, the Winter Soldier is one of several agents sent out to kill the world’s leader, Magneto. When Bucky gets to Genosha, he almost manages to sneak up on the dictator, but even his talents prove no match for the Master of Magnetism, as the villain quickly ends his would-be assassin’s life.
4. Senator Kelly
So many, many years (and almost as many X-films) have passed since the first X-Men movie hit theaters in 2000 that it’s almost easy to forget the miserable death that was suffered by Senator Kelly, the prejudiced anti-mutant politician who was actively campaigning for the Mutant Registration Act before his kidnapping by Magneto. As it turns out, Magneto doesn’t actually want to kill Kelly. Instead, he desires a more ironic fate for him: using his machine, he transforms the mutant-hating senator into a mutant himself.
However, it turns out that the machine makes Kelly’s cellular structure unstable. While it does turn him into a mutant, he rapidly starts degenerating, until finally melting into a puddle of goo when he makes it to Charles Xavier’s school.
3. The Security Guard in X2: X-Men United
Nobody ever expected that Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film was going to be such a surprising success, and its modest budget and short runtime meant that Ian McKellen’s Magneto didn’t get too many opportunities to show off his metal-manipulating talents. But that all changed in the sequel, X2: X-Men United, when Magneto finally breaks out of the plastic prison he has been trapped in since the end of the first movie — and even gets revenge upon his abusive security guard, by manipulating a couple of iron tablets that were previously fed to the guard by Mystique.
The whole scene is a work of art, from start to finish. Though Magneto has certainly accomplished more impressive feats in the later movies (for example, the next entry on this list…), this sequence still stands out as one of the best in the series.
2. All Those People on the Golden Gate Bridge
There’s no questioning the significance of Magneto’s attack on Alcatraz in X-Men: The Last Stand. Though Magneto had been responsible for some pretty horrific crimes before that, his destruction of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge probably killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people. It’s one of the single most significant events of the X-Men movie timeline — in many ways, it’s the “9/11” of the cinematic universe — since this attack changes everything, and seems to cause the mutant/human escalation that eventually results in the post-apocalyptic Days of Future Past.
There’s no official count of how many lives were lost in the San Francisco attack, but it’s certainly steep: not only did Magneto rip the whole bridge out by its roots, he also flooded it with an attack from his mutant army.
1. Sebastian Shaw
Though Magneto and Sebastian Shaw, the Black King of the Hellfire Club, have encountered one another in the comics before, the movies added a new, deeply personal element to their relationship. In X-Men: First Class, it is revealed that Shaw was once a Nazi scientist named Klaus Schmidt, who tormented a young Erik Lehnsherr in the concentration camps by demanding that he move a coin on his desk — and when Erik failed, Schmidt murdered Erik’s mother.
Erik spends much of his early life hunting his mother’s killer down. At the end of the movie, the two men face off. Erik is successfully able to remove Shaw’s telepathy-blocking helmet, allowing Xavier to freeze the villain in place. But here, in the moment that may have truly decided Erik’s fate once and for all, the now-Master of Magnetism disobeys Xavier’s pleas for compassion. As Charles holds Shaw in place, Erik manipulates the same coin that Shaw once tortured him with… and drives it through the Shaw’s skull, killing him. It’s at this moment that Magneto is born, and the world is never the same afterward.
What other important deaths and horrific events is Magneto responsible for? Let us know in the comments.