Since his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men v1 #1, Max Eisenhardt has become a defining character in the Marvel Universe. The product of an early life filled with suffering and despair, the man better known as Magneto has used the unimaginable power at his command in his crusade to prevent any mutant from knowing the depths of horror he was forced to suffer through as a Jewish man during the Third Reich. This unshakeable resolve has led to Magneto being seen alternately as a hero and a terrorist.
Regardless of how he’s regarded, one fact is beyond dispute: Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants in existence. Classified as an Omega Level Mutant, he’s considered a potential threat to the entirety of the planet. If he so desired, Magneto — sometimes called Erik Lensherr, or just Magnus — could literally end all life on Earth. Because of his absolute commitment to the cause of mutant supremacy, Magneto has to be a polarizing figure. But one thing is for sure, Magneto is a nearly unstoppable force.
The good guys don’t always come out on top, so let’s take a look at 15 Times Magneto Actually Won.
15. Magneto Tears Wolverine’s Adamantium Out Of His Body
The United States Security Council have initiated the Magneto Protocols in response to Magneto’s occupation of a hollowed out asteroid called Avalon, which he intended to be a sovereign state for the mutant race. By way of an extensive relay of satellites, a web of electromagnetic energy has been erected around the entire world and its only purpose is to repel Magneto. Should he attempt to enter Earth’s atmosphere with the energy web in place, his power will most likely fail, killing him on reentry.
Magneto sees the action as an affront, an attack really, and he’s inclined to answer in kind in X-Men v1 #25. His explosive response disrupts technology the world over and blankets the entire globe in complete and silent darkness. Thousands die as planes fall out of the sky and medical equipment fails. Professor Xavier decides it is time to end Magneto’s menace in order to stop him from killing anyone else, and he leads the X-Men against him on Avalon. During the climax of the battle, Magneto is grievously injured by Wolverine, and in retaliation, Magnus literally rips the adamantium off of Logan’s bones.
14. He Survived The Execution Of His Family
New Mutants v1 #49 is a tale of an alternate reality, one where Charles Xavier was murdered by Federal Troops. Magneto rises to lead mutantkind, allying himself with the Hellfire Club to fight back against humanity’s efforts to eradicate mutants. It works all too well, and soon enough, mutants have become the tormentors of homo sapiens, called “subs” for sub-humans, who are forced to live in squalor.
The political parallels painted by Chris Claremont are stark and unforgiving in this examination of what happens when the oppressors become the oppressed. As this scenario is progressing in a possible future, Magneto himself ponders an alliance with the Hellfire Club here in the present. He’s brooding over a recurring flashback to when Max Eisenhardt was taken out with his family and promptly executed by Nazi forces. Max’s latent magnetic powers pushed the fired bullets harmlessly away from him, allowing him to climb out of the mass grave later, to the astonishment of the Nazi butchers.
13. Magneto Defeats Baron Strucker And Saves Charles Xavier
Professor Charles Xavier is catatonic, victim of an alien plague that has paralyzed his body while he screams endlessly from inside. Xavier’s mind, his thoughts, all that he is, is being stripped from him one slice at a time, and there seems to be nothing he can do to stop it. As the X-Men keep vigil over him in Uncanny X-Men v1 #161, Xavier has regressed into the recesses of his own memories and struggles to retain his sense of self.
Xavier is reliving a time long past, when traveled to Israel to free the mind of a Holocaust survivor named Gabrielle Haller and happened to meet an enigmatic young man known as Magnus. Gabrielle is a victim of unimaginable Nazi cruelty, and she’s been left to retreat into her own mind and erect a mental wall to shield her against the world. Xavier manages to break the wall down, liberating her. The trio then succeed in bringing Gabrielle fully back to the world.
Haller is also the holder of the location of the bulk of the Fuhrer’s gold, and Hydra, the criminal organization formed from the ashes of the Nazi SS, will stop at nothing to get her back. Xavier and Magnus join forces and travel in a remote part of Kenya, where Baron Strucker has tortured the location of the gold from Haller. It is Magnus’ immense power that turns the tide, saving both Xavier and Hydra from the murderous Strucker.
12. Magneto Takes Vengeance On The Red Skull
Magneto hates Nazis above all things. His memories of the horror of Nazi Germany fires his determination to ensure that mutants are never made to suffer as he did. So it is that Magnus hunts Nazis with extreme prejudice, and that has led him to the door of the Red Skull in Captain America v1 #367. The Red Skull for his part, has set up countless hidden weapons for protection against the likes of Captain America, and doesn’t yet understand just how much of a world of hurt he is in for.
The Skull throws everything he has against Magneto, from automated laser weaponry to lumbering robots and gun wielding doppelgangers. The Master of Magnetism brushes them all aside with barely a thought, and moves relentlessly forward, stalking the Red Skull despite his increasingly desperate efforts. Magneto makes capturing the Nazi fugitive look like child’s play, and when the Skull comes to, he finds he has been dropped into an abandoned fallout shelter. There is no light, no food, and no hope of escape, since no one but Magnus knows he is there. Magnus wants the Skull to suffer as he has made others suffer, and in the end, he leaves the Nazi to contemplate his fate in utter, all-encompassing darkness.
11. Ultimate Magneto lifts Thor’s hammer
Wanda Maximoff aka the Scarlet Witch aka Magneto’s daughter has been murdered, having fallen victim of a bullet meant for her and her alone in Ultimates 3 #5. The Ultimate Avengers are being replaced by android duplicates that have been perfected down to the very last detail, and Magneto has convinced his son Quicksilver to take the body of his sister to the Savage Land. The Avengers then come to the Savage Land looking for Wanda’s body, while Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne discover who her killer is. As it turns out, Wanda’s reality warping power was so strong that it caused one of the emotionless androids created by Pym to become obsessed with her. When it realized it couldn’t have her, it killed her instead.
When the Avengers finally do square off against Magneto, it’s his son Pietro, Quicksilver who ends up dead. The Avengers try to stop an enraged Magneto from leaving with the bodies of his dead children, and Thor is the only one fast enough to even catch him. Catching Magneto and stopping Magneto prove to be two very different things, however, as Magneto plucks the enchanted metal hammer from Thor’s grasp effortlessly. Without the intercession of the Valkyrie, Thor would have been splattered all over the jungle.
10. Magneto Sinks A Nuclear Submarine
In the pages of Uncanny X-Men v1 #150, Magneto has threatened the nations of the world in the interest of securing the safety of mutants across the globe. He believes the world’s arms race will ultimately end in the destruction of all life, not just that of humans. Magnus demands full disarmament of all conventional and nuclear weaponry, and any country that refuses — including the two superpower nations of the era, the United States and Russia — will be destroyed.
The first country to answer Magneto’s ultimatum is Russia, who launches four thermonuclear warheads at his Bermuda Triangle-based stronghold. But all this does is enrage the mutant rights extremist. In retaliation, Magneto isolates the Russian nuclear submarine that fired the missiles and promptly sinks it with all men aboard into a trench seven thousand meters deep, knowing full well the sub will crush like an egg at just one thousand. To drive home his point, Magneto also levels a small Siberian city with a volcano of his making. It is by his forbearance alone that no one within the limits of the city is killed. It takes Kitty Pryde being seriously injured by his actions that Magnus realizes the monster he has become, and he calls off his attack on the powers of the world.
9. Magneto beats Apocalypse
En Sabah Nur, the immortal Apocalypse, is considered among the most powerful mutants that’s ever existed (and quite possibly, the first). When Scarlet Witch rewrites the history of Earth with her reality shifting powers, Apocalypse approaches Magneto over the corpses of Egyptian mutants slain by Sentinels. Magnus’ power has impressed Apocalypse, and prompted him to offer the Master of Magnetism a place at his side for the mutant rebellion against the humans’ aggression.
The words ring true to Magnus, who accepts the alliance, and in less than six months, the mutant camp turns the tide against the mutant-killing Sentinels. For a time, the alliance goes pretty well, but Magnus balks at the idea of wholesale slaughter, even to the humans, who likely wouldn’t hesitate, were their fortunes reversed. En Sabah Nur offers Magnus the chance to leave his faction, but Magneto insists that Apocalypse cease his mass murdering ways, or Magneto will make him. The two battle, with Apocalypse convinced that without any metal for Magnus to control, he’ll smash his underling like an insect…right up to the point where Magneto disrupts the electromagnetic field that is Apocalypse’s mind. By Apocalypse’s survival of the fittest standards, Magneto proves his right to lead the mutant rebellion in Civil War: House of M.
8. Magneto saves Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde has sacrificed herself to save the world by phasing into a gigantic bullet made from a metal she cannot phase herself back out of. The bullet would have destroyed the Earth instead of just moving harmlessly though it, but Kitty was trapped, and had to continue to phase so the shell wouldn’t destroy anything else in its path. Since that event years ago, Kitty Pride has continued to phase the bullet nonstop, even as it takes her light years from home.
Meanwhile, Magnus has committed the totality of his power, his consciousness, and his entire being to bringing Kitty back. Even as unimaginably far away as she is, Magnus is able to lock in on the unique metals in her phased bloodstream, grip the bullet, and redirect its course back to Earth in Uncanny X-Men v1 #522. Once it comes back to Earth, Magneto uses his power to disperse the planet breaking bullet and return Kitty Pryde back to Earth, alive and relatively well.
7. Magneto Saves The West Coast
Magneto, perhaps the most notorious mutant terrorist in the world, has joined the X-Men and is sitting with them on an island called Utopia just off of the San Francisco coast. After having saved Kitty Pryde and the world from a bullet the size of an asteroid, Magneto is enjoying a very quiet sanctuary with the X-Men. This is a problem, because if the American public was aware he was living within a stone’s throw of the West Coast, their terror and outrage would lead to massive civil unrest. Magneto is just fine with humans being afraid of him, they should be afraid. Attacking any of the less than two hundred mutants still living is an attack on Magneto himself, and humans should understand what that means.
Superhuman Public Relations specialist Kate Kildare on the other hand, is trying her best to make Magneto less frightening to the public at large. When a massive earthquake threatens to sink all of San Francisco, in just scant minutes, Magneto blithely moves to not only shore up the metal foundations of all the buildings in San Francisco, but also manipulates the metal deposits in the Earth itself to soften the impact of the quake. Kildare is suitably impressed, and wants to release a statement or a press release. Magneto informs her very simply at the end of Uncanny X-men v1 # 534…that was his press release.
6. Magneto Joins A Revolt At Auschwitz And Saves The Woman He Loves
Magneto: Testament is a five part story by Greg Pak and Carmine DiGiandomenico that tells the story of young Max Eisenhardt, whose Jewish family is forced to flee Germany after Kristallnacht and the rise of the Third Reich. Arriving in Poland just as Germany invades, Max’s family is executed in cold blood, but thanks to the first manifestation of Max’s latent mutant power, he survives. This begins a period spanning almost three years of horror, death and utter despair.
After years of being abused at every level imaginable, Max joins the resistance at the Auschwitz concentration camp and prepares to stage a revolt. Max is smart, and knows to bide his time, but when all efforts to spirit his beloved Magda away before she is killed fail, Max knows the time to fight has come at last. With the Allied forces closing in, the Nazis are executing their Jewish captives, so that no one is alive to tell of the atrocities they have committed. The revolt happens suddenly and the prisoners fight fiercely, but in the end, most are rounded up and executed. Max Eisenhardt and Magda manage to escape the horror and live on to fulfill their destinies.
5. Magneto rebuilt a Celestial and acted as its nervous system
A Celestial has landed on Earth, and no one is really quite sure what to do about it. Mr. Sinister has co-opted the Celestial’s head, deciding to use it to serve his own twisted purposes. Without its head, the Celestial must eventually die and disperse. As it degrades, the breakdown of its cosmic form is threatening to destroy the entire West Coast. The gigantic cosmic deity lacks a framework, an electromagnetic exoskeleton with which to preserve its cohesion.
This is where Magneto steps in to handle the situation in Uncanny X-Men v2 #1. Using his immense power, he first gathers the pieces of the gleaming entity, and then reconstructs them on the Celestial itself. Magnus uses his magnetic mastery to act as a surrogate nervous system for the godlike creature, an act that takes so great a toll on him that he fears his brains will soon begin to leak from his eye sockets.
4. Magneto actually kills Apocalypse
The murder of Charles Xavier before he can create the X-Men has led to a future where Apocalypse rules over all he surveys. The world is broken and piled high with corpses, both mutant and human alike. Erik Lensherr has led the team named in the memory of his dearest friend along with a contingent of unlikely allies against the Dark Lord Apocalypse, and the fearsome power of the M’Kraan Crystal.
Apocalypse’s empire is crumbling, and it teeters on the verge of nuclear annihilation as mutants’ revolt against him and his iron-fisted, sadistic rulership in X-Men: Omega. Humans have engaged nuclear weapons, and in minutes, the entire planet will be a pile of shouldering ash. In the end, as heroes fall all around, Magneto and Apocalypse, the two strongest mutants of their time, face each other in a battle to the death. En Sabah Nur pounds at Erik Lensherr, determined to beat him to death. Still, he wonders why Magneto doesn’t fight him back. His answer comes moments later, as Magnus uses his focused powers of magnetism to literally tear Apocalypse to pieces.
3. Magneto destroys a squad of Sentinels
Super Sentinel Bastion has trapped Hope, Cable, the X-Men, their island compound Utopia, and a good portion of San Francisco in an impenetrable sphere with legions of deadly, mutant killing Nimrod androids. With so few mutants remaining, Bastion sees a chance to exterminate them once and for all.
The X-Men have been dispersed to battle them on a multitude of fronts, and Magneto stands strong as he faces a Sentinel onslaught alone. The Sentinels are punishing him with a barrage of energy that would incinerate anyone without a magnetic shield to protect them. Even Omega level mutants have limits however, and he eventually falls, unable to physically sustain any further battering. The three Sentinels that finally overpower Magnus move in for the kill, but as the androids explode from the spikes that rip them to pieces, Magneto reminds them that Utopia is built from the remnants of Asteroid M, and Asteroid M was made from iron in X-Men Legacy #237. Silly robots.
2. The X-Men Run From Magneto
The X-Men have been attacked by Magneto in Uncanny X-Men v1 #104, abducted to his stronghold with the purpose of eliminating them as obstacles. Simultaneously, Erik the Red is attacking Professor Xavier at the X-Mansion, and believes that with the X-Men distracted, he will finally be able to rid himself of Charles Xavier. The X-Men fight valiantly, but they haven’t been trained to battle Magneto’s unique blend of raw power and advanced battle tactics, and are soon cut down.
They are saved from certain death by the last-minute intercession of Cyclops, who buys them enough time to recover and regroup. As the field commander of the X-Men, Scott Summers knows that this inexperienced squad of heroes just isn’t ready to face Magneto, and calls for them to retreat. He also knows that Professor X is in mortal danger, and would have his team race back to Westchester to save their leader. Even though it is for a greater good, running from the battlefield galls the X-Men, and for his part, Magnus rejoices in what he considers a decisive win over the mutant heroes.
1. Magneto Beats The X-Men
Uncanny X-Men v1 #111 shows a team of X-Men that have been transformed into an actual circus sideshow by the hypnotic powers of Mesmero. Hank McCoy aka the Beast has come seeking the heroes after they appear to vanish from the X-Mansion without explanation. Beast manages to free the mutant heroes, who then confront Mesmero, intent on finding out exactly who is behind their abduction. Cyclops’ stomach sinks as Magneto reveals himself.
In Uncanny X-Men v1 #112, the X-Men fight back against Magnus as he tells how he came upon Mesmero after he had taken the heroes. It was apparently an easy task to incapacitate him and take the X-Men for himself. After almost having destroyed them the first time he met this new team of X-heroes, the villain had searched for an opportunity to finish the job. Mesmero’s abilities provided him with that very opportunity, and Magneto means to make the most of it. The X-Men attack him, and they are once again beaten into submission by the more powerful and vastly more experienced Magneto.
On what other occasions has the archnemesis of the X-Men emerged victorious? Let us know in the comments.
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