THE DIAGNOSIS OF A COMIC BOOK CHARACTER
by Rivka Jacobs
PART I: Psychiatric Mood Disorders
Mood disorders are a type of mental disorder characterized by a disturbance of emotions, or mood. In the not-too-distant past, these were classified as affective disorders. Mood disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth edition, called the DSM-IV, are divided into: a) Depressive Disorders, b) Bipolar Disorders, c) Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition, and d) Substance-Induced Mood Disorder.
The specific types of mood disorders that I will discuss for the purposes of this paper, are the Bipolar Disorders.
The essential feature of a Bipolar disorder is the presence of at least one Manic Episode. Unipolar or Major Depressive Disorder is characterized by one or more Major Depressive Episodes, but there will not be any Manic, Mixed, or Hypomanic episodes. If even one Manic episode occurs, or the person has a history of even one Manic, Mixed, or Hypomanic episode, the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder has to be changed to a Bipolar Disorder.
A Manic Episode is defined as being a "distinct period during which there is an abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood." (DSM-IV, 1994.) The disturbance must be accompanied by at least three additional symptoms, including, from the DSM-IV: (1) inflated self-esteem; (2) decreased need for sleep; (3) more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking; (4) flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing; (5) distractibility; (6) increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation; and (7) excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences.
The elevated mood of a Manic Episode can range from euphoric and cheerful to a kind of "high" seen with intoxication. It is expansive and indiscriminate. This elevated mood can become increasingly one of irritability and anger when the person's desires are thwarted. A lability of mood, i.e., rapid swings between euphoria and irritability, are frequently seen.
Inflated self-esteem is also typically present in a Manic Episode, and can range from arrogant self-confidence to grandiosity, and can often become delusions of grandeur.
The person in a Manic state needs little sleep; when the sleep disturbance is severe, a person can go days without sleep.
The speech of a person in a Manic state is usually "pressured" -- accelerated and difficult or impossible to interrupt. It can be loud. The individual may become theatrical and overly dramatic. If the person's mood has become irritable, the speech may be typically aggressive, hostile, and consist of angry tirades and threats.
Significantly (for the purposes of this paper) the increase in goal-directed activities involves the excessive planning of, and participation in, multiple activities that can have political, as well as sexual, occupational, or religious overtones. The person suffering through a Manic Episode may simultaneously take on new ventures without regard to the apparent risks, or the need to complete each venture satisfactorily. There is an increased sociability, but one that is demanding, domineering, or intrusive. During a Manic Episode, the individual often shows psychomotor agitation or restlessness.
Elevated mood, grandiosity, poor judgement, and irritability almost always lead to reckless behavior, involvement in activities (sexual, business, political) that are likely to end up having very negative consequences.
The impairment caused by a Manic Episode must be severe enough to cause a significant break in the individual's functioning, requiring hospitalization to stop the person from being a danger to him/her-self and others. If psychotic features are present during a Manic Episode, by definition, there is a marked impairment of functioning.
One problematic area in my diagnosis is the criteria: that the symptoms of the Manic Episode or Episodes must not be due to the physiological effects of a substance, or a general medical condition. Sometimes it is not easy to decide, without extensive medical examinations and testing, what is caused by a genuine, pre-existing Bipolar Disorder, and what is caused by additional factors, such as the development of a general medical condition. Also, it is possible that Bipolar Disorder is caused by physiological factors, or a general medical condition, in everyone, so that the degree to which genetics and environment or environmental stressors interact and cause an individual to develop a Bipolar Disorder is unknown.
Bipolar Disorders are distinguished by the occurrence of at least one Manic, or Hypomanic (a less severe form of a Manic Episode, with less severe symptoms) Episode, which are usually accompanied by Major Depressive Episodes. The Manic and Depressive Episodes are said to cycle, that is, occur and reoccur in patterns. Manic symptoms must have been present for at least one week, and if these are Hypomanic symptoms, for four days.
Some of the symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode are: depressed mood, markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities nearly every day, weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, or retardation, fatigue and loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness and/or inappropriate excessive guilt, diminished ability to concentrate, indecisiveness, recurrent thoughts of death. A person in a depressed mood will also feel anhedonia, the complete loss of the ability to feel pleasure in usually pleasurable activities. The person also feels strongly pessimistic about the future. There is self-denigration, and self-accusation. The outward appearance of a person suffering from a Major Depressive Episode is usually sloppy, unkempt, unshaved. The face has a dull, masklike expression.
There are several different types of Bipolar Disorders, including Bipolar I -- Most Recent Episode Depressed, and Bipolar I -- Most Recent Episode Manic. There are also: Bipolar I, Most Recent Episode Mixed, Most Recent Episode Hypomanic, and Most Recent Episode Unspecified.
There is also Bipolar II Disorder, which is characterized by recurrent Major Depressive Episodes and Hypomanic Episodes. There is Cyclothymic Disorder, which is characterized by the chronic cycling of Hypomanic Disturbances, and less severe (Dysthymic) Depressive Episodes. And there is Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
There can be accompanying psychotic features, with either the Depressive Episode (most recent or current), or the Manic Episode (most recent or current). The actual specifier, "Severe With Psychotic Features," indicates the presence of either delusions or hallucinations (usually auditory). Most commonly the content of the delusions "is consistent with the manic themes." (DSM-IV, 1994.) That is, these are mood-congruent features; the content of the delusions corresponds to the goals and activities that the individual is engaged in. If mood-congruent psychotic features are present, the prognosis is better, than if mood-incongruent psychotic features are present. Some common psychotic delusions are: grandiose delusions -- a delusion of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship with a deity. Delusions of reference -- where a person believes that events, objects, or other person's have a particular and unusual significance. Delusions of persecution, the central theme of which is that the person is being attacked, cheated, persecuted, conspired against.
PART 2: Background and History of Magneto
The comic book character Magneto was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby for Marvel comics, in the very first issue of the comic book X-MEN, back in the fall of 1963.
The character initially was portrayed as a raving, typical villain, with the mutant super-ability to channel the earth's electromagnetic field, and perhaps produce his own magnetic energy as well. The first run of X-MEN went on hiatus in 1970, and when the book was resumed in 1975, new writer Chris Claremont took another look at all these characters called the X-Men, those Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and others created, and those Claremont created or co-created, and gave them histories, backgrounds, and complex personalities.
Marvel Comics has a domain, a continuous back-story, called "the Marvel Universe," or, "Marvel Continuity." This has been, in the past, mostly rigorously adhered to. Each writer/artist team acknowledged the writing and art of teams before them, and continued these characters' adventures by building on what had come before. Sometimes the more recent stories "inserted" or "retconned" (which stands for retroactive continuity) background or history for characters. So while the actual chronology of the stories isn't in order, a fan of a particular character can collect all the references to this character, and form a time-line, or historiography.
This is the case for the character Magneto. The following biographical sketch incorporates all Magneto appearances and all Magneto facts, up until the present time. Many aspects of the character's history and personality have to be deduced, or inferred. Much is extrapolated from what is known.
Magneto's birth-name is unknown. He has called himself "Magnus" for many years, and henceforth will be called Magnus in this paper.
Magnus was most likely born in the late 1920s, to a middle-class or professional and educated Jewish family that resided somewhere in Central or Eastern Europe. He was most likely born in Poland. (New Mutants #61.) His family either spoke German, or Yiddish (Uncanny X-Men #327) but that could be because his parents were from Germany, and moved to Poland in the 1920s, or, they lived in one of the German-speaking regions of Poland, such as West or East Prussia.
From what little we've seen of Magneto's family -- in nightmares and intrusive flashbacks -- they were well-dressed in up-to-date clothing, and were not peasants or living in poverty. (New Mutants #49, Uncanny X-Men #274.)
Magneto's family was deported from their home, probably just after the start of World War II, in 1939. It is unclear whether or not they were exiled first, as many Jews were from West and East Prussia at that time, and then were murdered, or whether they were led directly from their homes to the killing fields. But the fact is, at some point between 1939 -- when his family was registered as all Jews were in Poland (New Mutants #61) -- and 1940, Magneto's entire immediate family was led to a mass grave, along with many other people, some Orthodox Jews, some urban assimilated Jews like Magneto's family, and shot. We know that Magneto was a boy at the time, probably 13, and his only sister was older than he. His parents and sister and he were shot by Nazis using machine guns. They fell into the mass grave, but unknown to Magnus, his nascent mutant powers first manifested at this terrible moment, and deflected the Nazi bullets, saving himself but not the rest of his family.
Magnus clawed his way out of the mass grave, after quick-lime had been thrown on top of it, but before it was covered over. (X-Men, vol.2, #1, New Mutants #49.) He was caught almost at once by the startled SS who were in the process of burying the dead. Not knowing exactly what to do with him, and thinking he was older than he actually was, they sent him to Auschwitz, which had opened in the summer of 1940. We can surmise that Magnus' family was murdered either by the SS during the first deportations that lasted through the summer of 1940, or by the Einsatzgruppen in 1941, and that he was at Auschwitz "from the start," as it has been stated in the narration (Classic X-Men #12), and that he was a boy when he was first sent to Auschwitz, and that he "grew up" there. (Uncanny X-Men #161.)
More importantly, Magnus survived Auschwitz until almost the end of the war. He survived, we know, because at some point he was transferred to the Sonderkommando (Uncanny X-Men #274), where he became one of the "crematoria ravens" who helped the Nazis lead the victims to the gas chambers, collect their belongings, pull the bodies out of the gas chambers, and burn them. The Nazis always chose Jews for the Sonderkommando, and this is a very important fact; it was a part of the Nazi campaign against, and hatred of, the Jewish people, to give some of the young men a chance at life in exchange for keeping the death-factory running!
It is also surmised, that young Magnus could not have survived the first year at Auschwitz, before he was old enough for the Sonderkommando, without the "protection" of an older Jewish or Polish prisoner or kapo (prisoner-guard who was given power over the others and acted like a kind of overseer). He was probably physically and sexually abused at this time.
Like all Auschwitz inmates, young Magnus would have suffered from the most humiliating and dire circumstances on a daily basis. He suffered constant physical and psychological abuse, malnutrition, and the effects of diseases. As a member of the Sonderkommando, Magnus would have made a daily "deal with the devil" -- to stay alive while he helped kill his own people. Sonderkommando members were also given enormous amounts of vodka, to keep them working.
Magnus, however, tried valiantly to keep his humanity. He tried to help other inmates, smuggling food to them, and giving them hope. (Uncanny X-Men #199.) At some point, Magnus met or saw a young girl, most likely a Gypsy, or Romany, possibly of the Sinte tribe, named Magda. She was most likely brought into the camp in 1943, when the German and Austrian Gypsies were sent to Auschwitz, to the Gypsy Family Camp. Magnus fell in love with this girl, and brought her food, and helped her survive. In August of 1944, the entire Gypsy camp was murdered, taken to the gas chambers -- Magnus apparently saved Magda, but no one else in her family. He apparently bribed guards, kapos, and anyone else he had to, to transfer Magda to the Jewish woman's camp. Magnus probably told Magda about the murder of her family (Classic X-Men #12), but he may or may not have told her about his being a party to the murder, as a member of the SK.
In the winter of 1944-1945, as the Russian army closed in on Auschwitz, Magnus killed an SS soldier who was about to kill Magda, and the two of them escaped into the snowy woods to the northeast of the camp. Magnus was most likely 17 years old at this time. Magda was probably younger, around 14 or 15 years old.
They wandered for a long time, and Magnus took care of Magda, finding her food and clothing. They eventually settled in a Carpathian Mountain village, where after several years, during which time they recuperated from their ordeal, they were married. It is surmised that Magda, who was very beautiful, was badly treated in Auschwitz and she would have found an intimate relationship with Magnus difficult if he had pressured her immediately after their escape. Given his tender concern for Magda, we can presume that he waited for her to recover, physically and emotionally, and agree to marry him. Magnus seems to have been in love with Magda from the start. We don't know when Magda fell in love with Magnus, or how she defined love. He was her saviour, her protector; Magnus promised her he would always look after her, and protect her. (Classic X-Men #12.)
Magnus' daughter was born a few years after he and Magda were married. The girl was named Anya. Magnus adored Anya, and she was the light of his life. He called her his "talisman" -- the promise that things were going to be better, and the world was a better place. (Classic X-Men #12.)
Magnus was restless, however. From an educated, urban family, he found life in the Carpathian village to be restricting and frustrating. He therefore insisted that they move to a bigger city, one where he could find work (as a carpenter and general contractor) while he went to university in order to better himself, and their station in life. Magda did not want to move.
They arrived in the Soviet city of Vinnitsa when Anya was around 4 or 5 years old (some time in the late 1950s). On the very first day there, after his very first day of work, the foreman on the job tried to cheat Magnus out of his pay. Magnus used his powers for the second time, but this time he realized it. He sent a crowbar flying at the foreman's head, barely missing him. When he arrived back at the inn where his wife and daughter were staying, he saw that it was on fire, and Magda was frantic -- she had left the child alone, upstairs, she said, so that she could find something to cook for dinner. Magnus and Magda ran into the burning inn, and as the building's ceiling started to collapse, Magnus formed a magnetic force-bubble to protect him and his wife. They both were amazed, and Magnus was suddenly jubilant. He felt he could save Anya, with these new powers. But, when he and his wife ran outside, the foreman pointed him out, and the police, along with several members of the crowd, grabbed Magnus, beating him up while he begged them to let him go so he could save his daughter. While his daughter screamed for help, and called "Poppa!" Magnus could not help her. Finally, Anya fell burning from the building, landing just in front of Magnus. The crowd, somewhat stunned, backed away and let him go. Magnus, in a fit of rage and grief, unleashed his powers for the third time that day, and sent electromagnetic radiation -- like horizontal lightning -- shooting out in all directions, killing the police and members of the crowd who were nearby. Magda, meanwhile, stood there untouched. She seemed to be going into a dissociative state, calling her husband a "monster." She ran away from him, as he called and called her to help him bury their daughter, to come back to him. Magnus was too weak and injured to run after her. Shortly thereafter, he took the body of Anya and escaped into the woods, where he buried the child.
He then began a years-long search for Magda. He went to a forger named Georg Odekirk, who gave him a false identity, one which people in the Marvel Universe (and readers) would come to believe was genuine. This was Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, a Sinte Gypsy; he took that identity in order to hide from the Soviet police and KGB, and, to more effectively search for Magda, in the camps and settlements of her people.
Unknown to Magnus, when Magda ran away, she was pregnant with twins. She later ended up at Wundagore Mountain, in the country of Transia, at the citadel of a villain-scientist named the High Evolutionary (Edward Wyndham). With a cow-woman as midwife, Magda gave birth to Pietro and Wanda, and then ran out into the night, into the snow, disappearing, her fate unknown. Bova, the cow-woman, and her master, the High Evolutionary, gave the twin infants to a Gypsy couple (the Maximoffs) who had lost their own babies.
Magnus, meanwhile, searched Europe for Magda, couldn't find her, and finally gave up and immigrated to Israel. He had no family, and even though he had forged "Lehnsherr" papers that could get him into any country, he decided to go to Israel, as a Jew. It is presumed that he dropped the name "Lehnsherr" at this time, and entered Israel as "Erik Magnus," since all he needed to enter the country was his Auschwitz tattoo, the testimony of other survivors who knew him, and the fact he was circumcised. (Which he would have been, or the Nazis wouldn't have categorized him as a Jew in the first place, since with his family dead, he could have pretended to be of another religion or ethnic group, and gotten away with it, given his looks.)
Erik Magnus worked in a hospital in Haifa. It was primarily a psychiatric hospital, that treated primarily Holocaust survivors. While it is doubtful that Magnus sought therapy himself, or was willing to tell anything about himself due to the events in Vinnitsa, for which murders he was a wanted man, he would have been exposed to group therapy, and staff meetings, at this time. Magnus was caring and devoted, and there is testimony that he was helpful in alleviating the distress of his fellow survivors who were patients in that hospital. (Uncanny X-Men #161, Uncanny X-Men #321, X-Men vol. 2, #40 and #41, X-Men Unlimited #2.)
At this time, some 20 years ago, Magnus first met Charles Francis Xavier. Xavier was also a man of immense power, and a mutant. Unlike Magnus, he had years to become accustomed to his immense telepathic abilities, and to form theories and a philosophy about the existence of "mutants" among the general population. Xavier was from a privileged American family, from upstate New York. At the time he first met Magnus, he was already thinking of ways to ensure the peaceful co-existence of mutants and non-mutants.
Charles Xavier had come to Israel at the request of Dr. Shomron, an Israeli psychiatrist, who needed his friend's help in the treatment of a Holocaust survivor named Gabrielle Haller, who remained in a state of rigid catatonia. Xavier used his psionic powers to help Gabrielle recover, and Xavier, Gabrielle Haller, and Magnus became close friends.
But not long after, Baron Strucker, a Nazi war criminal who had escaped justice, and who had taken over a neo-Nazi organization named HYDRA, attacked and kidnapped Gabrielle Haller. (It turns out, he was the Nazi SS officer who had sexually abused her when she was a child in a concentration camp, and he had implanted in her mind, the map of a huge stash of Nazi stolen gold.)
Xavier and Magnus came to Gabrielle's rescue, but in the course of the fight, Magnus used his powers openly, became violent and agitated and suddenly -- after killing the Nazis (but not Strucker, a perennial Marvel villain who has popped up time and time again) against Xavier's wishes, he used his magnetic powers to raise the huge hoard of gold and carry it off, declaring that the gold would be used in the struggle of mutants to secure a safe place in the world.
This is the first recorded instance, witnessed by Xavier, where Magnus clearly identified with being a mutant. The gold -- Nazi gold stolen from mostly Jewish victims, some of which Magnus himself had helped pull off of dead bodies when he was in the Sonderkommando -- had passed from being the gold of Magnus' Jewish People, to being the gold of his Mutant People.
Magnus next, apparently, began working for a covert agency, probably the CIA, but possibly he was a double-agent for Mossad and the CIA. He took the codename MAGNETO at this time. He ostensibly was hunting Nazis for the CIA, but as a double-agent, working for the Israeli government, he actually was finding the escaped Nazi war criminals and turning them over to Israel for trial. (Classic X-men #19.) During this time, Magnus met a beautiful doctor named Isabelle, who understood he was a mutant, and tried to help him. Magnus may or may not have had a sexual relationship with Isabelle. (Classic X-Men #19.) At moments when he was most close to Isabelle, when it seemed the next step was for him to begin making love to her, Magnus was overwhelmed with memories of Magda. He was reminded of Magda's words, accusing him of being a "monster." Magnus seems to have feared two things: being disloyal to Magda, who he still hoped to find, and, becoming a "monster"-- that is, he feared that if Isabelle became his lover, he would lose control of his powers once again, become the "monster" that Magda had accused him of being, and kill Isabelle.
Unfortunately, his worst fears were realized in a way. While Isabelle was comforting him, trying to relax him by giving him a back massage, in their hotel room in Brazil, Magneto's Control, his boss at the CIA, showed up with some thugs, who grabbed Isabelle by the hair and slit her throat. They threw her body down next to Magnus, who was just realizing what was happening. Then, Control admonished Magnus for capturing "our" Nazis (as in, Nazis the US government wanted) and turning them over to Israel. In other words, Magnus' status as a double agent had been discovered. Control ordered his men to kill Magnus, but Magnus declared himself MAGNETO, a superior being, a mutant, homo- sapiens-superior, and rose into the air, in a sense declaring war on the human race while killing the CIA men below him. (Classic X-Men #19.)
Magneto's next known appearance suggested he was attempting to organize some sort of resistance movement, or at least was trying to expose how governments around the world were misusing mutants. (Generation X #10.) There is very little known about Magneto's activities at this time.
Magneto at some point around 11 years ago, created a costume for himself, and a helmet, and formed an organization, to counter the group of teens that Xavier founded (the X-Men). He called his group, with ironic intent, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. (As in, you think all mutants are "evil" well, then, here we are, the "EVIL" mutants.) The members of this group included Toad, Mastermind, and two teens -- twins -- from Transia, whom Magneto had rescued not long before. The twin youths were named Wanda and Pietro, codenamed the Scarlet Witch -- who had probability-altering powers, and Quicksilver -- who had super-speed. Magneto had no idea these were his children with Magda, and he treated them quite brutally. He was alternately cold, aloof and withdrawn, and ranting and manic at this time, as witnessed by Wanda. (X-Men -1.)
Briefly, Magneto attacked Cape Citadel, and the X-Men defeated him. (Uncanny X-Men #1.) Thus began a long enmity between Magneto and the X- Men and various X-Men allies. Magneto's attacks were always accompanied by his elaborate speeches about mutant superiority. Magneto's initial goals were to rule the world and turn it into a place where mutants wouldn't be persecuted, but where he, Magneto, would be the sole dictator. He also made vague and contradictory statements about mutants generally ruling over non-mutant humans.
Magneto was captured by an alien being named The Stranger, along with Toad (Mortimer Toynbee). (Uncanny X-Men #11.) Magneto escaped once, returned to earth, tried to defeat the X-Men once again, but this time, Xavier called the Stranger back! The Stranger recaptured Magneto, and threw him back on a cold, barren planetoid prison, where Toad had remained. (Uncanny X-Men #18.) This event seems to have triggered something in Magneto, since he became incoherent, threatening, making delusional and grandiose statements about conquering the universe! (Avengers #47.) Magneto escaped the Stranger a second time, on this occasion with Toad, returned to earth, and attacked Wanda and Pietro, who had joined the hero group, the AVENGERS, and were more than happy to have nothing whatsoever to do with Magneto.
At this time Magneto built an extraordinary island base with incredibly advanced technology, and articulated vague goals about conquering the world again. But soon, Magneto became completely distracted by the need to get control of Wanda and Pietro, and then, the X-Men. When he found out that Xavier, his old friend, was supposedly dead, he gloated in a wild, incoherent speech full of rage. (Uncanny X-Men #43.) Magneto was eventually defeated by the X-Men and the Avengers, and pretended to fall to his death on some rocks, to cover his escape. (Uncanny X-Men #45, Avengers #53.)
He next showed up in the Savage Land, a place where dinosaurs still live, that exists in a timeless Triassic state. It is located somewhere under Antarctica. Magneto built himself a citadel. He kidnapped local swamp-dwellers, primitive people, and abusing his own body, using his own life force and magnetic powers, he mutated them, genetically altered them, turning them into his slaves. All the while he was masquerading as The Creator. (Uncanny X-Men #62, #63.)
Again, he goals were contradictory, clear and vague at once, his actions seemingly brilliant and insane. He was manipulative and talked endlessly, but despite having some design on using the mutated humans as an army to conquer the world, ultimately there was almost no point to all Magneto's activities.
The X-Men defeated him once again, and at the end of this story (Uncanny X-Men #63), he was last seen on his knees, shouting, "Yes ... too late ... TOO LATE! Too late to do ANYTHING ... BUT DIE!!" as his Savage Land citadel collapsed on him. He made no attempt to escape, or ask for assistance, and instead seemed to be hyper-dramatic and out of touch with reality.
Magneto survived, however, and was rescued later by Prince Namor, the Submariner, ruler of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. (Fantastic Four #102.) Magneto tried to trick Prince Namor and the people of Atlantis to help him invade the earth. He kidnapped Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman, from the Fantastic Four. (Fantastic Four #102, #103.) Sue's husband, Reed Richards, also of the Fantastic Four, stopped Magneto, and was able to take him prisoner. How this was done, is significant. Richards used a device that turned Magneto's own powers against him; like a Chinese-finger-puzzle, the more Magneto used his powers, the more he was restrained -- ensuring that only HE captured himself. (Fantastic Four #104.) The Fantastic Four placed Magneto at this time in a small, completely non-magnetic prison cell, and inhibited his powers with an anti-magnetic force field
Magneto eventually escaped after going into a completely quiet, meditative state. Once he was back in a more grotesque version of his old costume, he reappeared trying to build a machine that would mutate ALL of the non-mutants on earth. His speeches were by now incoherent, his actions bizarre and violent.(Amazing Adventures vol.1, #9, and #10.) Magneto tried to carry out his plans in illogical ways; he was observed by many at this time, having captured Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans. (The Inhumans are a group of altered humans who live segregated from the rest of humanity. Pietro, (Quicksilver), married an Inhuman princess, Crystal. Black Bolt is married to Crystal's sister, Medusa.) Witnesses at this time uniformly reported Magneto to be insane. They reported hearing "insane" laughter, and witnesses could see Magneto's face as wide-eyed and maniacal, his features twisted. He almost succeeded in destroying every non-mutant human in the world, using nuclear energy to power his "universe machine." However, when it was clear he was defeated, Magneto detonated the nuclear energy canister he was going to use as a power source, and attempted to vaporize himself, saying, as he appeared to die, "Now ... the power is MINE ... the GLORY -- THE HONOR -- FOREVER -- MAGneto's...."
But he survived. He battled the AVENGERS again (Avengers #110, #111), and kidnapped Wanda, making her dance while under his mental control. He didn't know she was his daughter, but it still was a terrible moment. By this time, he was visibly altered -- his eyes wide and staring, with huge circles underneath. His body ravaged by the explosions and injuries he'd sustained. He used a special costume that once belonged to another one of the X-Men, Angel (Warren Worthington III), to siphon off the life-energy of Angel and this helped keep Magneto going. He obtained the costume by attacking Xavier and the X-Men in the X-mansion (Xavier's estate and mansion in Westchester County, New York), beating the crippled Charles Xavier and the young X-Men, and trashing the contents of the mansion. It is significant to note, that although Magneto had often threatened he would kill Xavier and the X-Men, when he caught them off- guard at this time, he did not kill them, but instead ranted at them, threatened them, physically abused them, and destroyed their property. Furthermore, he sent video pictures of the whole scene of destruction to Avenger's Mansion, in New York City, where the Avengers watched helplessly, and were thus lured to the mansion to render assistance. Which is how and where Magneto captured them. The Avengers defeated Magneto once again, captured him, and attempted to imprison him in an energy-globe, deep underground.
This prison globe was small, and Magneto was completely isolated. Magneto was able to escape when the approach of a comet caused just enough of a shift in the energy globe's integrity, that Magneto was able to use his powers to get out. (Defenders #15.)
Next, Magneto formed another group of "evil" mutants, recreating some of his Savage Land mutates. These included Lorelei, a mutate woman whom Magneto seemed to be personally attached to, although it is highly unlikely he had a sexual relationship with Lorelei, or anyone, at this time. Magneto then attempted to attack the United Nations building, lifting it magnetically in the air, while he used a being he had created himself, grown from a test-tube, Mutant Alpha, to try and conquer the world. BUT, this creation, Mutant Alpha was evolving at an accelerated rate, and became a "star- man" almost overnight. While Xavier, and Dr. Strange, and other heroes looked on, Mutant Alpha judged Magneto, and the others in his little Brotherhood. Mutant Alpha decided to give Magneto a second chance, and reduced him to the age of a six-month old baby.(Defenders #15, #16.)
Charles Xavier took baby Magneto to Muir Island, and gave him to the care of Dr. Moira MacTaggart. The baby was put in a cell, but Moira tried to treat him with love and care. Whatever Xavier felt he was going to do, to change Magneto, he never got the chance. An agent of the alien Shi'ar empire, Davan Shakari, re-aged Magneto, restored him to his prime, his health, and restored all his memories, all at once. (Uncanny X-Men #104.)
Magneto briefly attacked the X-Men on Shakari's advice, (Uncanny X- Men #104) and planned revenge, for his being a helpless infant in Xavier's care. But his mind wasn't in ferment, and the memories were haunting him, even while he captured the X-Men (the new team) and imprisoned them in his Antarctic base. This time he strapped the X-Men to chairs that suppressed their powers, and reduced them to the level of six-month-old babies! He created a robot, named Nanny, who he dressed in a cliched maid's costume, and programmed with a horrid, sickeningly sweet voice and over-attentive manner, to "care" for the X-Men in their helpless state. Thanks to Storm, whose coordination was extraordinary, even when she was a baby, the X-Men were able to escape, but Magneto's Antarctic base was destroyed in the process. Magneto was very proud of his Antarctic base, and indeed it was comparable technologically speaking, to anything other Marvel Universe geniuses could have created. (Uncanny X-Men #112, Uncanny X-Men #113, Classic X-Men #12, Classic X-Men #19.)
After this, Magneto continued to alternate between periods of violent behavior and quiet, intense brooding, up on the asteroid base he built for himself, that he positioned in stationary orbit over the then Soviet Union, probably over Anya's grave. (Uncanny X-Men #125.)
After one such period of violence, where he ordered all of earth to give up their nuclear weapons, and let him, Magneto, rule the world in order to bring peace (and he was sincere, too), he once again battled the X-Men. This time, on his Caribbean island base, he almost killed Kitty Pryde, who was them around 14 years old, a Jewish girl, codename, Shadowcat, a member of the X-Men. Magneto had a breakdown of sorts, suddenly refusing to fight any more, suddenly becoming aware of what he was doing. He disappeared. (Uncanny X- Men #148, #149, #150.)
Magneto disappeared to brood, once again, on Asteroid M. But an incoming being, from an alien techno-organic civilization with rigid rules and regulations, a being who was a "mutant" and did not want to comply with those rules and regulations and was fleeing to earth, collided with Asteroid M, breaking it to pieces. Magneto was sent falling to earth, where he ended up seriously injured and near death, floating in the Atlantic Ocean. (New Mutants #21.)
He was rescued by Lee Forrester, the captain of a boat, sometime X- Men ally, and super-hero groupie. He fell in love with Lee, and because of that relationship, Magneto seems to have calmed down. (Uncanny X-Men #188, New Mutants #23, #24, #26, #28.) It should also be noted that, at this time, Magneto's injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization, and that when he returned with Lee Forrester to his Caribbean island base to recuperate, he found it very difficult to use his magnetic powers. Although the extent of Magneto's physical injuries are unknown, he was clearly in enormous pain every time he attempted to used his powers in any significant way).
Xavier appeared thrilled that Magnus agreed to try Xavier's way once again, and had seemingly reformed and was still "good." (Uncanny X-Men #196.) Soon thereafter Magneto gave himself up for trial, when he was captured by agents of the US government while attending a Holocaust memorial event in Washington DC. He was brought before the World Court, and Gabrielle Haller was his defense lawyer, but the trial was disrupted by an attack from the children of Baron Strucker. The Strucker twins (the Fenris) were defeated, but Xavier became gravely ill, and he decided to leave the earth, and go off with his lady-friend, the Majestrix of the Shi'ar Empire, Lilandra. He convinced Magnus to take over for him, as head of the X-Men's youngest recruits, the New Mutants.(Uncanny X-Men #199, #200.)
Magneto did so. He tried. He tried to control himself, to think rationally. He had the support of Lee, for a time, and of the X-woman Storm, who believed in Magneto and helped give him confidence. But eventually, after being baited by the Hellfire Club, after joining the Hellfire Club at Storm's advice, after Storm and the other X-Men appeared to die, and left Magneto without any emotional support, Magnus started becoming more and more agitated, delusional, returning to his old patterns of thinking and behaving. (Most of the New Mutants run between #35 and #75; X-Factor #9; Uncanny X-Men #196, #199, #200 - #203, #210 - #213, #219; Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men; X-Men vs. the Avengers; Vision and the Scarlet Witch vol. 1 #4; Vision and the Scarlet Witch vol.2, #1, #3, #6, #12; Secret Wars vol. 2, Fallen Angels #1, #2.)
Magneto claims that when he put on the old red and purple costume, and abandoned the New Mutants, he was just trying to give the world someone to hate. That he was just trying to play the part of villain, so the world would be after him, and leave other mutants alone. (Uncanny X-Men #253.)
After allying himself with Rogue, Ka-Zar (leader of the Savage Land), Nick Fury (SHIELD), and some Russians, Magneto defeated a villainess named Zaladane, whom Magneto killed execution style while Rogue (his latest love) pleaded with him not to. Magneto left Rogue and the others, and promised he would be fighting "evil" mutants, and trying to help all mutants. (Uncanny X-Men #274, #275.)
But, he didn't keep that promise. Instead, he ended up rebuilding a fancy version of Asteroid M, and sat there, in space. His hair grew long and wild, he was unshaven, his appearance and mood were dark and brooding. It was at this time that a would-be assassin named Fabian Cortez showed up in Asteroid M's space, with a bunch of escaped prisoners (henceforth known as Acolytes), all mutants, who claimed Magneto was their "Lord." Magneto at first tried to send them away. But Cortez manipulated him, secretly amping his powers, forcing Magneto to become dependent on him, while pushing all the right emotional buttons. Cortez's goal was the murder of Magneto. He engineered events such that Magneto became a villain again in the world's eyes, Magneto became an enemy again of the X-Men, and Magneto became manic again, engaging in violent and threatening actions, making violent and threatening hyper-dramatic speeches.
Magneto discovered something in the midst of the initial fight with the X- Men, that was provoked by Cortez. He discovered, that while he was a baby, Moira MacTaggart had tried to change his genetic structure, to make him better able to deal with his immense powers. Moira's theory was completely rooted in the biomedical model: Magneto had gone insane, but this was due to the overuse of powers his brain could not handle.
Magneto became totally obsessed with what Moira had done. He immediately kidnapped Xavier, also, blaming him, although Xavier had nothing to do with this. Magneto forget entirely about Cortez, about his "Acolytes" and about any goals he might have had. Instead he forced Moira to "alter" the X-Men the same way he had been genetically altered, which he claimed, was an attempt by Xavier and MacTaggart to mind-control him. Which of course, was not what Moira had tried to do. But Magneto insisted, raved, yelled, and clapped a metal body suit on Moira, to torture her into doing what he wanted. (He once had cared very much for Moira, and had good memories of her treatment of him, when he was a baby. He accused her now of betraying him.)
Moira did something superficial to make the X-Men look like they were under Magneto's mind control, but she fixed it to work only until they used their mutant powers. Once they did, and exerted their strong individual wills, the effects of Moira's changes on the X-Men were negated. Meanwhile, Cortez was slowly killing Magneto. Cortez's mutant power was/is the ability to amp or augment another mutant's powers, to dangerous levels. And, after Magneto was sliced by Wolverine's claws in that prior battle with the X-Men (X-Men vol. 2, #1), and was badly injured, Cortez pretended to heal him while instead amplifying Magneto's own powers to mask the effects of the wound
Magneto finally began to discorporate, the molecular bonds of his body were being pulled apart. Cortez's intent was discovered, Asteroid M was falling to the earth, and Magneto once again elected to die, with his Acolytes, those desperate young mutants whom Cortez had tricked and used. (X-Men, vol. 2, #3.)
Magneto crashed, but was saved by the sacrifice of one of the Acolytes. All the other Acolytes of this first band, died. He was badly injured and somehow got to Antarctica, and his citadel there, to recover. He once again went through a spell of isolation, letting his appearance become unkempt, not knowing which direction to turn. At this time, he saved Xavier's life when the latter was injured during a blizzard, near Magneto's citadel. (X-Men Unlimited #1.)
Another mutant, named Exodus, now seems to have found Magneto -- during this time of depression and brooding. Exodus, a telepath and teleporter, who suffers from psychotic episodes, seems to have been a catalyst for a return of Magneto's own violent and psychotic behavior. Although Magneto said he was attempting to create a mutant homeland in space -- a homeland named "Avalon" -- not exactly a name that someone like Magneto would give a place -- he actually did nothing but attack Charles Xavier and the X-Men during a little girl's funeral, and then attack the earth with a special electromagnetic pulse-wave that killed thousands.
Magneto's mania escalated during this attack on Xavier, the X-Men, and earth. His speech patterns and tirades in particular were wildly contradictory, hyper-dramatic, and threatening. He was clearly delusional, and dangerous. Finally, in desperation, Xavier led an away team to the space-station/ship, for a final attempt to stop Magneto. At this point, Xavier did something he swore he'd never do. He mind-wiped Magneto, leaving him a mental vegetable.
Magneto was cared for on Avalon by mutant followers, another group of Acolytes. He may or may not have been waking up. He may or may not have been rational.
A few months ago, Marvel Time, Avalon was attacked and destroyed, and Jean Grey and Scott Summers helped save the Acolytes. The X-man Colossus saved the seemingly comatose Magneto. But once they landed in Antarctica, Magneto disappeared.
The next thing everyone knew, there was this long-haired, twenty- something, amnesiac man, calling himself Joseph, who everyone thought was Magneto. Joseph seemed to be a Magneto who had been once again de-aged, and didn't know who he was.
Joseph was and is an innocent, and was supposed to be the good side of Magneto, or the sane side of Magneto. No one knows, since now, Joseph apparently is NOT Magneto. The real Magneto showed up, just weeks ago, more distorted and irrational than ever before. He was wearing a costume, pretending to be someone else. He tortured and tormented the X-Men he captured. He sent out bounty-hunters to capture Gambit, an X-man, but then captured his own bounty-hunters, putting his former love Rogue in the arms of Gambit, watching them have sex (it is implied) in a cave while they were wearing chains. (Yes, this was in an X-Men comic.) Either this is some terrible mistake by the writers, or it isn't Magneto, or, Magneto is exhibiting the most manic and psychotic symptoms yet.
PART 3: Diagnosing Magneto
Magneto's diagnosis is, (without the codes):
Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Manic, Severe With Psychotic Features, With Interepisode Recovery --- PROVISIONAL.
It is clear from Magneto's history, that he displays all the symptoms of a Bipolar I disorder. The horrors of his childhood, and subsequent traumas, did not touch off a depressive or manic episode. This happened later in his life, after the onset of his powers. Although there was a stressor involved, at the onset of his first Manic Episode (possibly when he battled Baron Strucker and stole the gold, definitely when Isabelle was murdered), this was not linked more or less to his life history, or the use of his powers, than earlier stressors were.
Magneto seems to cycle from depression to mania over long periods of time, perhaps months in the depressive stage, and weeks in the manic stage. He demonstrates symptoms of grandiosity, inflated self-esteem, theatrical and dramatic speech that is also hostile and delivered in angry tirades. He demonstrates flight of ideas, and distractability. Due to his high intelligence, the increase in his goal-directed activities takes the form of brilliant scientific and biological research, but otherwise, his behavior involves excessive planning, taking on multiple unfinished tasks, unusual restlessness and inability to stay with one task or goal for long, or carry through any project to its conclusion.
The times Magneto was interrupted from carrying his plans to fruition, by the X-Men, or by the Avengers, or the Inhumans and Fantastic Four, were in fact times when the threat posed by Magneto's mania made such interference necessary, and in no way mitigate his symptoms. There is ample evidence that, when left unhindered, during the course of a manic episode, Magneto has been just as apt to abandon plans, promises, and goals, undertake new business before finishing old, and to become excessively involved with the planning of and participation in, a number of contradictory and unconnected activities.
Magneto has demonstrated psychotic features, such as delusions of grandeur, delusions of persecution, and delusions of reference.
Magneto has demonstrated the symptoms of depression when he's not manic. He has retreated to isolated bases, especially his asteroid base in orbit, isolated himself, and failed to take care of himself, and in fact has been shown to present an unkempt appearance during these episodes. He remembers and broods about the things he's done while in his manic phase, and this contributes to his depression.
But, there have been times when he seems to have been neither manic nor depressive, when there was interepisode recovery, as when he had the emotional support from a lover (Lee Forrester), or a friend (Charles Xavier).
Magneto's mental illness does have two possible etiologies due to a general medical condition. One etiology could be his powers, and their effect on his central nervous system and brain. And the other, is an extra bundle of nerve fibers between his pons and medulla oblongata. I've given his Bipolar I diagnosis the PROVISIONAL note, because Magneto needs to be thoroughly examined by a team of doctors, including specialists in neurology. He needs to be observed over a period of time, months perhaps, and the use of his powers monitored carefully, so that any affects on his brain and body can be measured.
Magneto's twin children, now grown, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, have each demonstrated episodes of manic and depressive behavior, and this could possibly support a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder, since research shows this disorder tends to run in families. On the other hand, they could have inherited something of their father's mutant physiology, and although their powers are different from his, there may be an underlying biogenetic cause of the Bipolar I symptoms in Magneto's children.
Also on Axis I --
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic, in partial remission.
Magneto's Holocaust experiences, and the murder of his daughter Anya, have caused the symptoms of PTSD to appear. But in more recent years, not all the symptoms have appeared at the same time -- for example, Magneto has had intrusive and disturbing dreams, but he has been able to talk about the Holocaust, and about his daughter, and visit Magda's memorial marker, indicating Magneto has not consistently avoided these places or thoughts that cause him pain.
Also on Axis I --
Other Substance Dependence -- PROVISIONAL
Again, Magneto's powers may be causing his brain to produce elevated levels of the neurotransmitter Endorphin, which is a pain suppressor. Between the time that Magneto left Israel, and Isabelle's murder, Magneto was subject to excruciating headaches every time he overused his magnetic powers. It is theorized that Magneto's brain began to compensate for this pain, by producing endogenous Endorphins, or some unknown, similar neurotransmitter, in ever increasing amounts. This served to cause his nerve cells to create new receptor sites for the Endorphin, which meant he needed to use his powers more and more, to stimulate the production of more and more Endorphin, to give him relief from his body's physiological reaction to the overuse of his powers, which is pain. Magneto also might experience increased self-confidence, and a feeling of well-being, with a lessening of his PTSD symptoms when this occurs, due to the increase in Endorphin levels.
Axis III --
Possible damage done to his body by his powers -- medical examination needed. Possible effects of extra nerve fibers in his brain, and increased metabolism due to his magnetic powers, must be determined with a thorough medical examination, and observation. Medical evidence suggests, that, since the pons is a part of the metencephalon (afterbrain) and is composed of bundles of fibers and nuclei, the extra fibers in Magneto's brain are an extension of the pons. The medulla oblongata, or narrow brain, contains the vital centers regulating heart action, vasomotor activity, respiration, deglutition, and vomiting. This might suggest that, if the extra bundles of neurons in Magneto's brain are connected to his mutant powers, his mutant powers of magnetism are part of his autonomic nervous system. Or, some portion of his mutant abilities are a part of his autonomic nervous system.
The pons contains the points of origin for nerves controlling chewing, facial expressions, salivating, equilibrium, and hearing. The medulla also contains nerve centers for hearing and equilibrium, as well as neck muscle control and tongue muscle control. Some of these bodily activities are voluntary, most are involuntary. The fact that Magneto's extra nerve fibers appear in this area of the brain is significant, and the relationship between these neuro-fibers and his Bipolar I disorder, and these neuro-fibers and his powers of magnetic and electromagnetic manipulation, needs to be determined.
If his powers or ability to manipulate electromagnetic energy proves to be a part of his autonomic nervous system, or more than 50% controlled by his autonomic nervous system, then the prognosis for Magnus is poor. If Magnus' powers to channel electromagnetic energy and generate his own energy fields are largely involuntary, like the beating of his heart, then Magneto can never completely turn-off or control the use of his powers. Any negative effects these powers are having on his body tissues, or his central nervous system, will over time become worse. The only solution may be, the complete artificial supression of Magneto's powers, but this solution also might cause damage to Magnus' metabolism, due to the unknown relationship between his powers and his autonomic nervous system.