Magneto's birth-name is unknown. He has called himself "Magnus" for many years.
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 could have been physically and/or 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 endured 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 (Herbert Edgar Wyndham). With a cow-woman (Bova) as midwife, Magda gave birth to Pietro and Wanda, and then ran out into the snowy night, disappearing, her fate unknown. Bova took the twin infants to her master, the High Evolutionary, who gave the newborns to a Gypsy couple (the Maximoffs) whose own babies had died.
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."
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 reveal much if 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, during 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 twenty 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 incredible 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 location 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 Nazi 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 during this time.
Magneto at some point around eleven years ago, created a costume for himself, and a helmet, and formed an organization which he called, 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.)
Magneto's first open attack in his "war" against humanity was directed against Cape Citadel, a military missile base somewhere in Florida. The X-Men, a group of teens gathered and trained by Charles Xavier, defeated him. (Uncanny X-Men #1.) Thus began the long enmity between Magneto and the X- Men and various X-Men allies. Magneto's attacks were frequently 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, 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 manic, 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. He 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 disjointed speech full of rage, and decided it was a good time to attack the X-Men. (Uncanny X-Men #43.) Magneto was eventually defeated by the X-Men and the Avengers, and pretended to fall to his death on ocean 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 Cretaceous state. It is located somewhere under Antarctica. Here, 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 and genetically altered them, turning them into his slaves. All the while he was masquerading as The Creator. (Uncanny X-Men #62, #63.)
Again, his 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 into helping 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 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 witnessed 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.) Observers uniformly reported Magneto to be insane. They reported hearing "insane" laughter, and it was evident that Magneto's face was wide-eyed, 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 now, Magneto 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 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. However, 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 entrusted him to the care of Dr. Moira MacTaggert. The baby was put in a cell, but as far as Magnus remembered, Moira tried to treat him with gentleness and affection. The other baby members of the BOEM were also placed in cells, in Moira's research center on Muir Island. Xavier had vague plans to raise Magneto to adulthood again, confident this "second childhood" devoid of the horrors of the Holocaust, would result in an adult Magnus who would use his powers for the good of all humanity. However, whatever Xavier thought 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 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 was in ferment, and all the old mania seems to have come back to him. Immediately after his re-aging, in fact, Magneto became hostile, paranoid and dangerous again, exhibiting all the classic symptoms of a manic episode with psychotic features. Certainly not any symptoms of a man whose genes had been altered to make him "good," as some would later, erroneously, claim.
Shortly after leaving Muir Island, Magneto was drawn to Latveria, by Dr. Doom. (Super-Villain Team-Up #14.) Doom easily outwitted and outclassed Magneto, and set him up as an "opponent" in a "game." If Doom won, the world would be his. If Magneto won, the world would be free. Doom allowed Magneto to choose one ally from among the Avengers, and Magneto chose Hank McCoy, the Beast. In the end, Magneto did not defeat Dr. Doom, it was Ghost Rider (The Champions #16) with an assist from Beast who whipped the ruler of Latveria with a taste of his own medicine. Magneto at this point demonstrated some sense of conscience, and some self-restraint.
But not long after the defeat of Doom, Magneto was demonstrating the full range of manic and psychotic symptoms again, in a confrontation with Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D., (Captain America Annual #4). Magneto at some point gathered another group of mutant followers, and he seems to have held their loyalty with a notion of mutant solidarity. But Magneto's entire focus of attention was on a miniature, impenetrable space ship; this was the basis for all his actions that resulted in the deaths of both the tiny and hulky bodies of a mutant known only as Mister One and Mister Two. Magneto trashed a S.H.I.E.L.D. lab, battled Captain America, sent his mutant followers out on ambush duty, all so he could capture Mister One (who was as small as the hand on a watch). All so he could use this diminutive mutant man to enter the pint- sized space ship. Mister One ended up destroying the small space ship, and himself, in an explosion that Magneto escaped.
Around this time, Magneto built a huge, sophisticated Antarctic base under a volcano on the mountainous rim of the continent.
Shotrly thereafter, he tracked the X-Men (the new team), and discovered they had been captured by Mesmero. Magneto rescued them, but promptly seized them himself.
Magneto imprisoned the X-Men in his Antarctic citadel. This time he strapped Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, and Banshee into 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 complex was destroyed in the process. (Uncanny X-Men #112, Uncanny X-Men #113, Classic X- Men #19.)
Magneto was seriously injured in his fight with the X-Men, and in escaping the lava flow that engulfed his Antarctic home. Returning to the second Asteroid M, that he seems to have positioned in stationary orbit over the then Soviet Union, probably over Anya's grave, Magneto cycled from violent to depressive and brooding behavior. Significantly, he was too injured to use his powers for a while, and his mood seems to have changed considerably while in this quiescent state.
Magneto reappeared on the world stage, after raising his Bermuda Triangle island base from the bottom of the sea (circa Uncanny X-Men #144), and altering the earth's magnetic field so as to limit Charles Xavier's psychic powers. But this time his motives and his methods were different from what they had been before. He now 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). Once again Xavier and his X-Men battled Magneto, in order to stop him. But this time, something extraordinary happened! At the height of the battle on his Caribbean island base, Magneto almost killed Kitty Pryde, who was them around 14 years old, a Jewish girl, codename Shadowcat. 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 into isolation on Asteroid M, brooding and depressive once again. He was not paying much attention to anything but his own inner conflicts. It was during this time that an alien being, from an 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, sometime X- Men ally, super-hero groupie, and captain of the fishing trawler Arcadia. 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 once again, 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 use his powers in any significant way.
Xavier appeared thrilled that Magnus agreed to try a more peaceful path once again, and had seemingly reformed and was still "good." (Secret Wars II, 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 (Andreas and Andrea, 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 tried. He tried his best to follow Xavier's path. 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 on 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 had a higher purpose, and they had chosen their destiny. Moira MacTaggert called his excuses, "Rationalizations!" Magneto told her, he was just trying to give the world someone to hate. That he was going to play the part of villain, so the world would be after him, and leave other mutants alone. (Uncanny X-Men #253.) What seems closer to the truth is, the death of Doug Ramsey, and the imminent passage of the Mutant Registration Act, accelerated Magneto's fears and sense of anxiety and panic.
At this point in Magneto's history, it is necessary to speculate. There are some mysterious and unresolved plot danglers that could have occurred at this time. One is a near-fatal batttle with the Shadow King, mentioned in Uncanny X-Men #275. The other is Magneto's discovery of Exodus' tomb. In any event, Magneto soon found himself opposing the villainess, Zaladane, whose goal was to rule the Savage Land, and then the world.
Magneto became allied with Rogue (whose life he had saved in Uncanny X-Men #269), Ka-Zar (leader of the Savage Land), Nick Fury (S.H.I.E.L.D.), and some Russians, in his war with Zaladane. In the course of the conflict, Magneto was captured by Zaladane, and nearly killed as she siphoned off his powers into herself. But Rogue and Ka-Zar saved him, he regained his powers, and he destroyed Zaladane execution-style while Rogue (his latest love) pleaded with him not to. Magneto left Rogue and the others, admitting the truth to them and himself: "I am not Charles Xavier. I will never be Charles Xavier. I was a fool to try. As he was, for believing I could succeed." (Uncanny X-Men #275.) Magneto did make a vague promise as he flew off, that he would be fighting "evil" mutants, and try to help all mutants. But Magneto's actions that day portended disasters to come, as his own words attested: "But the chains we forge for ourselves .. tempered by hardship and grief, honed by duty -- are often all too tragically unbreakable."
Magneto next became involved in the Acts of Vengeance, and briefly was reunited with a possessed Scarlet Witch, and his son, Quicksilver. His goals were twofold -- to find out what the villains of the Acts of Vengeance alliance were up to regarding mutants, and to find out what had happened to Wanda, who had cut her hair and turned ruthless and cruel. But Magneto's amorphous plans to "recruit" Wanda to his cause were abandoned, when he discovered she was being controlled by something not of this dimension.
It was during his brief association with the Acts of Vengeance villains that Magneto rebuilt a fancier version of Asteroid M. After he escaped a fight with Iron Man, Magneto seems to have returnd to his asteroid home. This might also be when he discovered Exodus' tomb. But whatever else happened, Magneto retreated. He lived alone, isolated on a small rock in space. His hair grew long and wild, he was unshaven, his appearance and mood were dark and brooding.
Without warning, a would-be assassin named Fabian Cortez showed up on Asteroid M's doorstep, 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 irrational and hyper-dramatic speeches.
Magneto discovered something in the midst of this renewed conflict with the X-Men. (X-Men #1 and #2.) He discovered, that while he was a baby, Moira MacTaggert 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 Moira and Xavier, blaming Charles as well although Xavier had nothing to do with this. Magneto forgot 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 MacTaggert 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 #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 began to pull apart. Cortez's intent was discovered, Asteroid M was falling to the earth, and Magneto once again elected to die, this time with his Acolytes, those desperate young mutants whom Cortez had tricked and used. (X-Men #3.)
Magneto crashed, but was saved by the sacrifice of one of the Acolytes. All the other Acolytes of this first band, died. Magneto 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 dangerous, mad mutant named Exodus now joined 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 aggressive 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. (Uncanny X-Men #304, X-Men #25.)
Magneto's mania escalated during these attacks on Xavier, the X- Men, and earth. His speeches and tirades in particular were wildly contradictory, hyper, and hostile. He was clearly delusional, and dangerous. Finally, in desperation, Xavier led an away team to the space-station/ship Avalon, 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, 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 now, since Joseph apparently is not Magneto. The real Magneto showed up, just weeks ago, more distorted and incoherent 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 apprehend Gambit, an X-man, but then imprisoned 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. Either witnesses have made some terrible mistake, and this imposter isn't Magneto, or, Magneto is exhibiting his most manic and psychotic symptoms yet.