Many years before Marvel published Magneto: Testament, years before I started this blog, in fact, I decided to fill in for myself some of the gaps in the personal history of Magneto, the X-Men’s arch-nemesis. As always, I restricted myself to what was revealed about Magneto’s history during the period of the Original Marvel Universe, stories published between 1961 and 1991, thereby avoiding the muddled mess that Marvel continuity in general and the X-Men franchise in particular had become after that point. While Greg Pak’s 2008 miniseries is fine in and of itself, and certainly well-researched, I feel that, in trying to tell the true story of the Holocaust, Pak sacrifices the truth of the character’s individual history. He violates a number of basic facts established about Magneto’s past in order to put the character at key points in the history of the Holocaust, which I think is a shame, since Magneto’s true history is fascinating and compelling in its own right.
First of all, it was established in 1988 that Magneto is Polish, so I thought Magneto’s real name should be a Polish one. Pak chose to make Magneto a German Jew, so he named him Max Eisenhardt. As a name for Magneto, who manipulates ferrous materials (i.e., iron) magnetically, Eisenhardt, which translates as “iron-hard,” is really as much a ludicrous coincidence as saying the Vanisher’s real name is Telly Porter. It’s a super-villain cliché. But worse, from my perspective, is the fact that one of the very first things Chris Claremont established about Magneto’s history, in Uncanny X-Men #150, is that his family name has been all but wiped out. Magneto tells Cyclops, “Search throughout my homeland, you will find none who bear my name.” Eisenhardt is a very common name. My own research led me to the name Maszynski, which seems to have become fairly uncommon, though it appears on lists of Polish families displaced by the Nazis. I chose it because it starts with “Ma–” and has a nice Polish ring to it. At the time I was doing my research, Marvel was saying Magneto’s real name was Erik Lehnsherr, but since “Lehnsherr” basically means “feudal lord,” that seemed an obvious alias. I didn’t buy it. But Erik is a perfectly good name, so I kept it, adopting the more typically Polish spelling Eryk.
The biggest problem in constructing a detailed chronology of Magneto’s early life is how do you keep him alive throughout his incarceration in Auschwitz? Especially in light of Claremont’s repeated assertion that Magneto had been there “from the start.” If he were Jewish, the chances of surviving nearly five years in the camp are pretty much zero. However, Magneto does seem to consider the Jews to be his people. The simplest solution is that Magneto is Jewish but the Nazis didn’t know it. I reasoned that, if Magneto is Jewish through matrilineal descent and his Jewish grandmother lived in a country the Nazis never invaded, perhaps his Jewishness would not be part of the official record. Particularly if his mother was not a practicing Jew and/or did not consider herself to be Jewish. Since, at some point, Magneto adopted the alias “Magnus,” which is a typically Swedish name, and since Sweden was never occupied by the Nazis, I decided to place his grandmother in Sweden. This suggested that his mother was also Swedish, which is believable since Charles Xavier once speculated that Magneto might be of “Nordic” descent. This also suggested that Magnus was his grandfather’s name, and that is the reason Magneto chose it for his new identity. This is how I constructed my picture of Magneto’s immediate family.
Like Greg Pak, I did a great deal of research into the history of the Auschwitz concentration camp to see if there was a plausible way to get an adolescent Magneto from 1940 to 1945 and out alive. I determined that, if he was stuck doing construction work, he would most certainly have been worked to death in a short time. Likewise, if he spent more than a couple months working as a Sonderkommando, he would almost certainly have been killed, despite Pak’s contention to the contrary. Almost none of the Sonderkommandos survived the experience. In fact, I consider this to be the most unbelievable aspect of Pak’s narrative, though I admit it makes for a powerful story. I think it far more likely that Magneto found his way into a relatively safe occupation, probably in the camp hospital. This situation, I feel, offers just as much dramatic potential, if not more. And it leads Magneto directly into his encounter with the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, another of Claremont’s story “seeds” that Pak ignores.
Since his mutant powers had not yet manifested, Magneto had only one thing going for him in the camp: his natural, virtually genius-level intelligence. I saw that as his best chance for survival. (An interesting side note I discovered while compiling this chronology: by the time Magneto began his career as a super-villain and chief nemesis of the X-Men, he would have been fluent in at least 12 languages: Polish, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Slovak, Ukrainian, Sinti, English, Hebrew, Spanish, and Portuguese. Clearly, language acquisition is just another of Magneto’s many talents.) So, in the end, my sequence of events differs significantly from the story Greg Pak wrote (which is endorsed as official by Marvel), but I believe mine is much more in tune with the original Magneto as developed by Chris Claremont.
Consider this, then, an alternate history of Magneto, the Magneto of Earth-6111.
Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.
We now proudly present... The True History of Magneto!
January 1929 – Eryk Maszynski is born in Warsaw, Poland. His father, Józef Maszynski, is a university professor and noted member of the Polish intelligentsia. His mother, born Märta Ekström, is a concert pianist from Malmö, Sweden. The couple met in Copenhagen, Denmark, settled in Józef’s native Warsaw, and had a daughter a few years before Eryk’s birth. The family is quite well-to-do, has many friends, is both highly educated and devoutly religious, and is generally happy.
January 1930 – Eryk reaches his first birthday without incident. Like his father, he sports a head of thick black hair.
April 1931 – In Austria, Magda is born to a young Sinti couple at a remote Gypsy encampment.
January 1933 – Eryk celebrates his fourth birthday with a large party attended by family and friends. A week or so later, Adolf Hitler is elected chancellor of Germany, bringing his Nazi party to power.
September 1936 – Eryk starts school in Warsaw, although his parents have already taught him to read. He demonstrates an amazing aptitude toward learning, which makes Józef and Märta extremely proud. In addition to speaking Polish and Swedish, Eryk also starts learning French.
March 1938 – Austria is annexed by Nazi Germany. Magda’s family, which is both culturally and geographically isolated, at first thinks little of the change in government. They soon learn, however, that the Third Reich’s repressive policies toward the Roma are to be instituted in Austria, as well.
July 1938 – The Maszynski family travels to Copenhagen, Denmark so the children can visit the famous Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park. They are joined there by Märta’s parents, Magnus and Sara Ekström, who make the drive over from Malmö. Meeting them for the first time since he was an infant, Eryk is very impressed by his maternal grandfather, who seems a powerful, almost regal figure, with a head of snow-white hair. He is also surprised to discover that his maternal grandmother is Jewish, and she regales them with stories of her family, the Morgensterns. The elderly Swedish couple is delighted by their grandchildren, and a good time is had by all.
January 1939 – Eryk celebrates his tenth birthday with the usual lavish party. His mother plays the piano, and all the children dance.
June 1939 – In Austria, Magda’s family is arrested and sent to a nearby municipal Zigeunerlager, or Gypsy internment camp. Her mother is forcibly sterilized, but Magda, being only eight years old, is spared the procedure.
September 1939 – Poland is invaded by Nazi Germany, triggering the start of World War II.
January 1940 – Eryk celebrates his 11th birthday in an environment mixed with fear and a guarded optimism. His father assures him that the Germans will soon be driven out of Poland and everything will go back to normal.
May 1940 – As part of Hitler’s plan to eliminate the Polish intelligentsia, the Maszynski family, along with numerous others, are rounded up by Nazi soldiers and driven to a field somewhere outside of Warsaw. As the men, women, and children are lined up alongside a deep trench, Eryk is frightened and holds tightly to his parents’ hands. Suddenly, a storm of bullets erupts from the soldiers’ guns, tearing into the defenseless Poles. For Eryk, time seems to slow to a crawl as a burning sensation envelops his brain. The screams of the dying and the roar of the guns are all strangely distorted. Somehow, he sees each bullet that comes near him and instinctively causes it to move aside. However, he sees his parents and his sister cut down by the gunfire, and they all fall back into the pit. Eryk goes into shock and stares unblinkingly at the sky as the Nazi soldiers shovel dirt in on top of them. However, his survival instinct soon kicks in and he begins clawing his way up through the loosely-packed soil; and in his terror, he believes he hears the bloody corpses below begging him to stay. He finally emerges into the morning air, to the astonishment of the soldiers. This boy had been in the front—people behind him were riddled with bullets—how did he survive? Considering him some kind of good luck charm, the soldiers take the boy with them back to their base, where he is locked in a prison cell. Over the next few days, Eryk’s hair turns a ghostly white, baffling the Nazis further.
June 1940 – Unsure of what to do with their strange survivor, the Nazis decide to send him to the new Auschwitz concentration camp not far away. Upon arrival at the camp, which is still under construction, Eryk is deemed fit for labor and is immediately put to work building the camp. His head is shaved and he is given a prison uniform and a serial number. Since the boy’s maternal grandmother lives in Sweden, the Nazis are unaware of his Jewish heritage and classify him as a Polish political prisoner.
July 1940 – Overcoming the initial shock of witnessing his family’s murder and his own incarceration, the traumatized boy determines to do whatever is necessary in order to survive.
August 1940 – Male members of Eryk’s extended family begin arriving at Auschwitz as well, shipped in from various parts of Poland. There are no women in the camp. With no one to “mother” him, Eryk finds he must grow up fast if he is to stay alive under the brutal conditions. He tries to remember what exactly happened the morning his family was killed, but the memory is lost to his conscious mind. Strange images continue to haunt his dreams, however.
September 1940 – Eryk struggles to deal with the horrors he witnesses every day as the prisoners are worked beyond the limits of human endurance by their merciless overseers. Over time, as several of the adult prisoners help the boy escape being beaten to death by the Nazi guards, often paying a terrible price themselves, Eryk is inspired by their spirit of resistance.
October 1940 – Several thousand Soviet prisoners-of-war begin arriving at the camp, most of whom are assigned to the construction crews. From them, Eryk gains a working knowledge of the Russian language.
November 1940 – Magda and her family are transferred to the Lackenbach concentration camp in eastern Austria. Many of her family members die due to the horrific living conditions in the camp.
January 1941 – Eryk Maszynski spends his 12th birthday in Auschwitz, a fact his surviving relatives try to at least acknowledge. He thinks back on the happy celebrations of years gone by but begins to bury the memories as being too painful to hold onto. He decides he must reinvent himself, to transform the frightened orphan boy into a strong and capable man. He adopts the name Magnus for its association with the imposing figure of his grandfather.
February 1941 – With more and more adolescent boys arriving at the camp, Magnus is assigned to a newly organized Youth Block, run by a sadistic Polish prisoner. As the youngest member of the group, Magnus receives frequent beatings. The boys are made to engage in military-style drills, are trained in the art of bricklaying, and are instructed in the German language, which Magnus masters in a relatively short time.
March 1941 – Magnus watches with grim fascination as Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, makes an inspection of the camp. He fantasizes about treating the Nazi official to a slow, gruesome death.
April 1941 – The bricklayers’ school is dissolved and Magnus is assigned to another construction crew, where many of the other boys are soon worked to death. Despite the malnutrition and strenuous labor, he refuses to give in to despair.
May 1941 – The head of his work detail puts Magnus in charge of all the paperwork. This leads to frequent short-term postings within the camp’s administrative offices, where his proficiency in multiple languages makes him useful.
September 1941 – The SS begins testing poisonous cyanide gas on the prisoners. The last remaining members of the Maszynski family are killed in these experiments.
October 1941 – Magnus is assigned to a work crew building the much larger Auschwitz II death camp, also called Birkenau. He labors to construct the gas chambers and crematoria, among other things.
December 1941 – As the weather grows increasingly colder, a sympathetic prisoner functionary arranges for Magnus to be transferred back to the administrative offices, so he will at least be working indoors. In gratitude, Magnus helps cover up certain thefts of supplies from the Nazis’ storehouses.
January 1942 – Magnus observes his 13th birthday with a few friendly prisoners. Coming upon his own file while doing routine office work, he surreptitiously adds five years to his age, hoping to increase his odds of survival.
February 1942 – To his horror, Magnus realizes that all new Jewish prisoners at the camp are being gassed to death immediately upon arrival. He overhears the Nazis joking about die Endlösung—the “final solution.”
March 1942 – Magnus watches as the first women prisoners arrive at the camp. They are housed in a separate section set up for them on the opposite side of the railroad tracks.
April 1942 – The Nazis change their policy toward the arriving Jews, holding “selections” of a small percentage of prisoners to be put to work in the armament factories. The rest are murdered in the gas chambers. Magnus learns this is due to the United States having declared war on Germany. The Nazis also institute a minimum 11-hour workday for concentration camp prisoners.
May 1942 – Large groups of prisoners deemed “non-productive” are rounded up and murdered by the Nazis. Magnus survives these purges, though every friend he has made so far ends up dead. The Auschwitz III (Monowitz) work camp is opened at a nearby chemical factory.
July 1942 – An epidemic of typhoid fever sweeps the camp. Magnus is assigned to the camp hospital, tending to other prisoners and keeping the building clean. Although saddened to see the patients routinely murdered with lethal injections, Magnus works hard and is ultimately granted a permanent post by the hospital administration. However, the horrors he witnesses only multiply.
September 1942 – Magnus is contacted by the underground resistance movement within the camp and agrees to help with a plan to smuggle in medicines to treat seriously ill prisoners before the Nazis murder them. At great risk to himself, Magnus participates in the scheme, nearly getting caught on several occasions. However, he feels stronger knowing he is actively fighting against the Nazi system.
January 1943 – Magnus notes that he has reached his 14th birthday, although he tells no one.
February 1943 – Magda and her surviving family members are transferred to the special Gypsy camp at Auschwitz. She is scheduled for forced sterilization after her twelfth birthday in April.
April 1943 – On her birthday, Magda discovers that all Gypsy sterilizations have been delayed until the arrival of a new medical researcher. She almost wishes the Nazis would just get it over with. As part of a new camp policy, Magnus is forced to have his prisoner serial number tattooed on his left forearm. It is a devastating psychological blow. However, another change in policy leads to better treatment of the non-Jewish patients in the hospital, as the Nazis attempt to bolster their workforce for the war effort. Magnus is thus able to save many more lives, rekindling his own hopes for survival.
May 1943 – Magnus meets David and Ruth Shulman, a young married couple, and their friend Chava Rosanoff when they are all sent to Auschwitz from the Warsaw ghetto. He listens with fascination to their story of fighting in a resistance group called the Z.O.B. and a massive uprising they staged using smuggled weapons. The Nazis managed to crush the resistance group, though, and the Shulmans have lost hope. Magnus convinces them that survival is possible, even in Auschwitz. However, before long, Rosanoff is sent to the gas chambers.
June 1943 – Dr. Josef Mengele sets up his laboratory at Auschwitz to conduct genetic research and experimentation, focusing first on the inmates of the Gypsy family camp. Magda is certain she will soon face the brutal sterilization procedure.
August 1943 – A brothel is established in the main camp, housing female prisoners lured into prostitution with false promises of better conditions and treatment. Rather than sterilizing Magda, Dr. Mengele decides to have her assigned to the brothel in the hope that she will be impregnated so he can use the fetuses for his genetic experiments.
October 1943 – Magnus is terrified when over fifty Polish prisoners are executed for their involvement in the resistance movement. Though convinced he will be next, Magnus continues his clandestine efforts to alleviate the suffering of his fellows.
January 1944 – One night in the hospital, an informer who was deliberately infected with typhus by the other prisoners begs Magnus to give him medicine, but Magnus does nothing and allows the Gestapo stooge to die in agony. He feels emboldened by this act of vengeance. Magnus’s 15th birthday passes unacknowledged.
March 1944 – Magnus is transferred from the hospital to become one of Dr. Mengele’s laboratory assistants. He learns that Mengele’s gruesome experiments are part of a Nazi program to harness the power of mutants for the benefit of the Third Reich. Mengele is pleased with Magnus’s aptitude for lab work and instructs him on the latest research into human mutation. Though fascinated by the subject, Magnus is sickened by Mengele’s inhuman torture of his research subjects.
May 1944 – Magnus helps save some new arrivals from the gas chambers by warning them to lie about their ages so that they will be deemed fit for work. Meanwhile, the Nazis decide to liquidate the Gypsy family camp at Auschwitz, but when they are met with fierce resistance, a decision is made to postpone the action. Magda is inspired by her people’s act of defiance.
August 1944 – The Gypsy camp is finally liquidated, and all the remaining Gypsy prisoners are forced into the gas chambers and murdered. Magda, still in the brothel, is spared, and Dr. Mengele subsequently arranges for her to remain at Auschwitz for the purposes of his experiments. Magnus first learns of Magda and Mengele’s diabolical plans for her offspring. He vows to do whatever he can to protect the hauntingly beautiful Gypsy girl.
September 1944 – Allied bombers destroy part of the Auschwitz-Monowitz chemical factory. Magnus begins to believe the Nazis will soon lose the war.
October 1944 – The Jewish Sonderkommandos in Auschwitz-Birkenau, responsible for carting the dead bodies from the gas chambers to be incinerated, stage an uprising using explosives smuggled from a weapons factory by female prisoners. They manage to blow up part of the Crematorium IV complex, but all the rebels are killed either during the revolt or the following mass escape attempt. Magnus is recruited as a replacement Sonderkommando as the exterminations continue. He performs these horrific duties for about six weeks.
November 1944 – In the face of the advancing Soviet army, the Nazis begin shutting down operations at Auschwitz. The gas chambers and crematoria are closed, bringing the program of mass exterminations to a halt. As work on dismantling the facilities begins, Dr. Mengele has Magnus transferred back to his laboratory. Magnus then assists Mengele in developing a process to mutate ordinary people into superhuman monsters. Their initial test results are promising.
January 1945 – Days after his 16th birthday, Magnus saves Magda’s life by killing a guard about to shoot her as the camp is being shut down by the retreating Nazis. The emaciated couple finally escapes from the Auschwitz death camp and slips off into the woods. That night, Magnus convinces Magda not to give in to despair. They slowly make their way south into Czechoslovakia, gradually regaining their strength.
March 1945 – To avoid both the Soviet and Nazi armies, Magnus and Magda hike up into the Carpathian Mountains and make their way east. Magnus finds he has an infallible sense of direction.
April 1945 – Magnus and Magda celebrate her fourteenth birthday. He is worried that she always seems so afraid and tries to reassure her that he will always keep her safe.
May 1945 – In the villages between Prešov and Košice in Czechoslovakia, Magnus finds work as a woodworker to support himself and Magda. He easily masters the Slovak language, allowing them to make new friends and reassimilate into society, though Magda remains withdrawn. As soon as he has earned enough money to buy a wedding dress, Magnus and Magda are married.
August 1945 – A voracious reader, Magnus tries to make up for the years of education he missed in the concentration camp. Being fluent in six languages gives him a distinct advantage, and despite working long hours, he has a hunger for knowledge that won’t be satisfied.
October 1945 – Magnus follows newspaper reports of the Nuremburg war crimes trials with a keen interest.
January 1946 – Magnus and Magda celebrate his 17th birthday, though he still claims to be five years older than he really is.
May 1947 – Magnus and Magda are overjoyed when their daughter Anya is born in a mountain village in eastern Czechoslovakia. Magnus has become a successful tradesman, discovering he has an uncanny affinity for metal tools of all types.
November 1947 – Magnus learns that dozens of former Auschwitz staff are being tried in Poland. He is disappointed when only about half of them receive the death penalty.
June 1949 – Magda realizes she is pregnant again but decides to hold off on telling Magnus, since he has announced his intention to relocate the family further east. She plans to tell him after they’ve gotten settled in their new home.
August 1949 – Wanting a better life for his family, Magnus takes Magda and Anya to Vinnitsa, Ukraine, across the border in the Soviet Union. Now 20 years old, he hopes to win a place at the university there and dreams of eventually studying in Moscow or even Paris. Having mastered the Russian language at Auschwitz, he feels the Soviet Union offers his best chance for success. Leaving his wife and daughter at an inn, Magnus goes to find a job with one of the many construction crews still rebuilding the city after the war. At the end of the day, however, the foreman tries to cheat him out of his full wages. Reacting with a flash of anger, Magnus somehow causes a crowbar to fly at the foreman, nearly impaling him. The frightened man immediately gives Magnus the full sum he is owed. Magnus ponders this strange occurrence as he returns to the inn. But, when he arrives, he finds the building is on fire. He pushes through the crowd and learns from the innkeeper that Magda and Anya are still inside. Rushing into the burning building, Magnus finds Magda. She is frantic, having left Anya sleeping in their room while she went out to buy groceries. Suddenly, the stairs collapse, raining flaming debris down on top of them. Instinctively, Magnus creates a protective bubble of magnetic force around them. Astonished, they run outside, where Magnus tries to use these mysterious powers to save his daughter. However, he is grabbed suddenly by the police. When he resists, they beat him with clubs. The crooked foreman appears and taunts him, having accused Magnus of extortion and assault. Suddenly, a horrific scream fills the air as Anya’s burning body plummets to the street. Overwhelmed with rage, Magnus feels an electrical storm sweep though his body, and he momentarily blacks out. When his mind clears, he sees the entire crowd surrounding him has been struck dead. He kneels over his daughter’s charred corpse, overcome with grief. Magda, horrified at what Magnus has done, calls him a monster and flees into the night. Too weakened to follow, Magnus is forced to go into hiding to escape the police. He has no idea Magda is pregnant.
September 1949 – Magnus slips across the border into Moldova and from there makes his way to Transylvania. Living as an outlaw, he continues to experiment with his strange abilities and eventually determines they are based on manipulating the forces of magnetism. He recalls Dr. Mengele’s research on mutants and decides that he must be one. The realization that he is not a member of the human race fills Magnus with a tremendous sense of self-affirmation.
October 1949 – Magnus moves steadily west, assuming Magda must have returned to her native Austria.
March 1950 – Despite months of searching, Magnus can find no trace of Magda. He is unaware that she has given birth to twins 400 miles away on Wundagore Mountain in the tiny Balkan nation of Transia. Days later, Magda leaves the babies with her midwife, hikes out into the snowy mountains, and commits suicide.
September 1950 – Having given up searching for Magda, Magnus decides to finally pursue his formal education in Western Europe. His wildfire intelligence leads him to study physics, chemistry, genetics, neurology, and mechanical engineering, among various other subjects. He also masters the English language.
June 1955 – Magnus decides he has had enough of formal schooling and graduates with honors. He has come to believe that Magda’s reaction to his mutant powers will be typical of the human race, and humanity’s fear of mutants will inevitably lead to another Holocaust. The only way he can see for mutants to survive is if they hold the reins of power.
January 1956 – Following his 27th birthday, Magnus moves to Israel. He settles in the seaport town of Haifa, where he volunteers at a psychiatric hospital run by Dr. Daniel Shomron. Many of the patients are survivors of the Holocaust. Shomron speaks often of a “miracle worker” he met during the Korean War named Charles Xavier.
May 1956 – Magnus meets Charles Xavier when Dr. Shomron invites the American to consult on a special catatonic patient, a survivor of Dachau named Gabrielle Haller. Magnus is amazed by the ease with which Xavier brings Gabrielle out of her catatonic state. Over the following weeks, Magnus and Xavier get to know each other as they reintroduce Gaby to the world, taking her on a grand tour of Israel. As they do so, Magnus is fascinated by Xavier’s theories about human mutation, though he thinks Xavier’s belief that humans and mutants could peacefully co-exist is naïve and foolish. Magnus begins to suspect that Xavier is a mutant like himself. His suspicions are confirmed when the terrorist group HYDRA storms the hospital and kidnaps Gaby. After Magnus uses his magnetic powers to destroy one of the HYDRA aircraft, killing most of the terrorists while leaving the Israeli security forces unharmed, Xavier reads the mind of one of the captured HYDRA men, discovering him to be a former officer of the SS. Further, Xavier learns they have taken Gaby to a remote camp in Kenya in search of a lost cache of Nazi gold. Magnus agrees to accompany Xavier on a rescue mission. When the two men infiltrate the HYDRA camp two days later, they find the group’s leader is the notorious Nazi war criminal Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. Xavier’s telepathy reveals that Strucker has tortured Gaby to learn the exact location of the hidden gold, which was implanted in her mind in the closing days of the war. Magnus worries that Xavier’s emotional attachment to Gaby will get them killed. Though they manage to grab Gaby while the HYDRA agents are unearthing their treasure of gold ingots, she retreats into her catatonic state. While Xavier tries to talk her back to consciousness, Magnus fights with Baron Strucker. Magnus’s magnetic powers allow him to easily defeat Strucker and his weaponized gauntlet, the “Satan Claw.” He then evacuates Xavier, Gaby, and the gold from the cavern, leaving Strucker trapped by a cave-in. On the surface, Magnus warns Xavier of the coming conflict between humans and mutants, then takes the fortune in gold and departs.
June 1956 – While searching for a safe place to hide his gold, Magnus discovers a lonely island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, formed from an extinct volcano. He determines that the extensive caverns underneath the island will make an ideal command center. After opening a Swiss bank account with some of the gold, Magnus begins constructing living quarters, laboratories, and other facilities on the island. He also builds a submarine in which he can traverse the ocean. Over the next year, he maintains a sporadic correspondence with Charles Xavier, exchanging ideas and debating their opposing philosophies. He also learns of a newly established Mutant Research Centre on Muir Isle, off the coast of Scotland, run by a Dr. Moira MacTaggert.
June 1960 – Following the capture of former SS officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust who had fled to South America, Magnus decides that he should use his abilities to track down other escaped Nazis and bring them to justice. He initially coordinates his activities with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence network, but soon his impressive success rate brings him to the attention of the CIA. He is assigned a CIA handler and adopts the codename Magneto.
January 1962 – Magnus celebrates his 33rd birthday in Rio de Janeiro, his base of operations as a Nazi hunter. His missions have caused him to use his mutant powers more than ever before, and he has increasingly suffered debilitating seizures. As a result, he has engaged the services of a beautiful Brazilian physician named Isabelle, though her numerous tests cannot determine the cause of his condition. Reluctantly, Magnus confides in her the full extent and nature of his mutant powers, but she does not reject him. In fact, they feel a definite sexual spark.
February 1962 – Magnus stumbles upon a compound hidden in the jungle where former SS officer Hans Richter is hiding out. With his magnetic powers, he easily defeats Richter’s men and apprehends the war criminal, although he suffers his worst seizure yet.
March 1962 – Back in Rio de Janeiro, Magnus and Isabelle decide to take their relationship to the next level. However, Magnus finds he is still haunted by what happened with Magda and is not ready for physical intimacy. When he suddenly suffers another seizure, Isabelle offers to give him a massage. Trying to relax, he is only half-listening as she begins to speculate that his seizures may be caused by the tremendous magnetic forces he channels through his body, which may even be altering the structure of his brain. She is cut off as her throat is slit by a CIA assassin. Magnus is horrified as his handler steps from the shadows and informs him that Hans Richter was considered an important asset in America’s Cold War against the Soviet Union and Magnus’s interference has ruined their plans. Isabelle has been murdered to punish him. Enraged, Magnus turns his mutant powers on the CIA agents, overcoming the technology they’ve brought to protect themselves. He declares that humans are not fit to rule the earth and deserve to be subjugated by his kind—Homo superior. After announcing that Magneto will lead mutants to their glorious destiny, he kills his handler. Then, with a sad glance down at Isabelle’s corpse, Magneto departs in a nimbus of magnetic force.
April 1962 – Magneto returns to his island fortress in the Atlantic and creates a distinctive costume to wear in his campaign to conquer the world in the name of mutantkind. He also fashions an intimidating helmet to protect his head—and his mind—from attack. As he continues to use his powers, his body seems to adjust to them and the seizures subside. At the same time, though, he gradually becomes more ruthless and unforgiving towards the human race and also begins to see other mutants as a means to an end.
July 1962 – When the criminal mastermind Karel Stranczek, known in the media as “Dr. Strange, Master of Evil,” detonates a 200-megaton nuclear bomb in the upper atmosphere and then hijacks all radio and TV transmissions to issue his demand to be made absolute dictator of Earth, the nations of the world launch a full-scale nuclear strike on his stronghold in the Atlantic Ocean. Though some sort of force field protects the villain’s island, the American superhero Iron Man nevertheless defeats him. Magneto realizes that his own island headquarters would be vulnerable to such a retaliatory strike and begins designing an orbiting fortress which he dubs “Asteroid M.”
October 1962 – To capture materials and technology needed to complete Asteroid M, Magneto launches a daring attack on the U.S. military base at Cape Canaveral, home of America’s most advanced weaponry. However, his plans are foiled by a taskforce of five young superheroes called the X-Men. Deducing that Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the Beast are mutants like himself, Magneto is angered that they would oppose him and tries to blow them up with a tanker filled with rocket fuel. The X-Men escape and press their attack, driving Magneto to retreat. Realizing he must form a team of mutants loyal to him to counter this mysterious group, Magneto returns to Europe.
In the Balkans a few weeks later, Magneto hears rumors of a girl possessing the “Evil Eye” who causes disasters to occur. She is said to travel in the company of a faerie or spirit who disappears in a gust of wind. Suspecting the pair are mutants, Magneto tracks them down and rescues them from a murderous mob. He finds they are actually teenaged siblings named Wanda and Pietro. The silver-haired boy can run at super-speed, and the auburn-tressed girl can cast a probability-altering “hex” with a simple gesture. Magneto impresses on the twins that they owe him their lives and extracts from them a promise to serve him. He is immediately struck by Wanda’s uncanny resemblance to his long-lost wife, Magda, but has no way of knowing they are the children Magda bore on Wundagore Mountain twelve years before.
November 1962 – Magneto sets Wanda and Pietro up with luxurious quarters within his island fortress. He also gives them colorful costumes and new identities as “The Scarlet Witch” and “Quicksilver,” encouraging them to forget their former lives among the humans. However, a decade of sexual frustration causes Magneto to become obsessed with Wanda, and he is driven to act upon his urges by the growing madness in his brain. Convincing himself that she is somehow Magda returned to him in a new form, Magneto begins molesting Wanda in her room at night.
In the weeks to come, Magneto continues to work on Asteroid M while teaching Wanda and Pietro to read and speak English. He also tracks down two more mutants in England and brings them to the island. Mortimer Toynbee, a Yorkshireman, possesses a superhuman leaping ability, leading Magneto to dub him “The Toad.” Though Toynbee’s obsequious fawning is irritating, Magneto knows he will be a loyal lackey. He is less confident in the allegiance of Jason Wyngarde, a magician from a traveling carnival who manipulated audiences with his mutant power to generate convincing illusions. Still, this “Mastermind” is sure to be a powerful ally. Magneto sees immediately that his recruits do not get along, but he is certain he can keep them in line, with physical force if necessary. He christens his team “The Mutant Brotherhood.”
Leaving his followers on the island, Magneto returns to America and commandeers a World War II era freighter about to be auctioned off. He single-handedly pilots the vessel back to his headquarters using his magnetic powers. When he arrives, Magneto is furious to discover that the others were fighting in his absence and punishes Mastermind for daring to threaten the Scarlet Witch. Pietro says he and his sister are sick of the others and are thinking of leaving, but Magneto reminds the twins of the debt they owe him. Wanda cringes as Magneto touches her and meekly agrees to stay until their debt is repaid. To ensure her obedience, Magneto molests her once again that very night.
December 1962 – A few days later, Magneto and his new Mutant Brotherhood board the heavily armed freighter and head for South America. They anchor off the coast of the tiny republic of Santo Marco, a notorious haven for escaped Nazis, and begin shelling the capital city. During the barrage, Magneto makes telepathic contact with the leader of the X-Men, whom he immediately recognizes to be Charles Xavier. Magneto challenges Xavier on his opposition to his crusade for mutant hegemony, and when Xavier again makes the case for peaceful co-existence, Magneto rejects his arguments and declares him an enemy. Xavier vows his X-Men will fight Magneto to the death if need be. Furious, Magneto breaks contact. He directs Mastermind to create the illusion of an invading army of thousands of goose-stepping soldiers in Nazi-like uniforms in order to terrorize the populace. Magneto rather enjoys finally turning the tables on the human race. Seizing power, Magneto immediately outfits the country’s real army with similar uniforms and imposes harsh martial law, targeting for persecution all citizens of German ancestry. When the people of Santo Marco seem to easily transition from a democratic republic to a fascist police state, Magneto sees all the proof he needs that his quest for world domination is completely justified. Clearly, another Holocaust could occur at any time, anywhere in the world.
Before long, the X-Men arrive in Santo Marco and attack Magneto in the presidential palace, as expected. When the battle between the two mutant teams demolishes much of the building, Magneto decides to employ his ultimate weapon, a nuclear bomb that will destroy the capital city and the X-Men with it. Once the device is armed, Magneto orders a full retreat, and so the Mutant Brotherhood heads out to sea aboard the freighter. However, Magneto is furious when Quicksilver admits he deactivated the nuclear bomb before joining them aboard the ship. They return to their remote island fortress in defeat, although Magneto believes he proved a point about the human race. Later, Magneto is outraged that the international news media insists on calling his group “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.”
Magneto finally completes work on Asteroid M and moves his team of mutants to their new orbiting headquarters. Then, discovering there is a Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County, New York, Magneto sends Quicksilver and Mastermind to locate the school and determine if it is the X-Men’s secret headquarters. Though they search the area for two weeks, they are unable to find the school. Magneto suspects that Xavier’s telepathy is to blame, somehow shielding it from detection. As his frustration grows, Magneto becomes more forceful, even more violent, in his sexual mistreatment of Wanda. He finally decides to use the Toad to bait a trap for the X-Men and sends him to compete in a televised track meet with instructions to use his mutant leaping ability as blatantly as he can. Sure enough, the X-Men arrive to save the disguised Toad from an angry mob, but they manage to unmask him before reaching their headquarters. This leads to an all-out battle between the X-Men and the Mutant Brotherhood in the main concourse of Grand Central Station. Magneto succeeds in capturing the Angel and takes him to Asteroid M. Though Magneto tortures him for several hours, the young mutant refuses to betray the location of his team’s hideout. The rest of the X-Men soon come to the rescue, and the ensuing skirmish destroys Asteroid M. Magneto and his followers abandon the disintegrating space station moments before it is obliterated in a tremendous explosion and return to Earth in a magnetically controlled escape pod.
Realizing he needs to add some muscle to his team, Magneto decides to contact Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, a powerful mutant who has already battled the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. When the imperious Sub-Mariner arrives at their island fortress, Magneto orders the Scarlet Witch to try to seduce Namor to make him more compliant. Unfortunately, her hex power accidentally causes a device Namor is examining to discharge a massive bolt of electricity. Before negotiations can begin, the X-Men storm the island and attack. During the battle, the Sub-Mariner turns on Magneto when he witnesses his harsh treatment of the Scarlet Witch. Magneto tries to subdue Namor, but the undersea monarch is merely driven to go on a destructive rampage. His island fortress compromised, Magneto orders his team to abandon their headquarters. The Mutant Brotherhood escapes in a small airship to rendezvous later with Magneto’s hidden submarine. Tensions run high as the group adjusts to the cramped quarters inside the submersible, and Magneto regularly vents his rage upon his subordinates.
January 1963 – Magneto sends Toad, Mastermind, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch to continue searching for the X-Men’s secret headquarters. With his submarine lurking in the waters of Upper New York Bay, Magneto experiments with devices to extend the range of his magnetic powers, wreaking havoc in the city. Before long, the superhero Thor smashes into the submarine to put a stop to it. Magneto assumes he is another mutant, using the old Norse myths for his superhero persona, and tries to recruit him into the Mutant Brotherhood. However, Thor declares he is no mutant, but the son of Odin and sworn protector of the human race. Incensed, Magneto immediately attacks him, their battle tearing apart the interior of the submarine. When he finally has Thor on the run, Magneto is distracted by a distress call from Mastermind, who reports that the X-Men are chasing them. Irritated, Magneto sets course to rendezvous with his team but is suddenly attacked again by Thor. Realizing he is outmatched, Magneto arms a nuclear bomb, but it is disabled by the X-Men, who storm into the submarine. Magneto abandons ship and loses his pursuers in the murky waters of the Hudson River. Once the coast is clear, he meets up with his followers in the city. After determining that Thor has destroyed his submarine, Magneto sets up a makeshift headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
Several weeks later, Magneto summons the Mutant Brotherhood to meet at Mastermind’s dilapidated mansion in upstate New York. When he arrives, Magneto is furious to find Mastermind attempting to rape the Scarlet Witch and reacts violently. Quicksilver enters and threatens anyone who tries to harm his sister. Magneto ignores him and outlines his latest plan to defeat the X-Men. Still looking to add muscle to their group, they attempt to enlist a sideshow freak called the Blob, whom Magneto determines to be a mutant. At first the carny rebuffs them, but when Magneto accidentally restores the Blob’s memory of a previous encounter with the X-Men, he changes his mind, desiring revenge. The Mutant Brotherhood then sets an elaborate trap in a factory Magneto owns in New Jersey and lures the X-Men there. When Magneto attempts to blow up the X-Men, and the Blob as well, with a barrage of missiles, the Scarlet Witch nearly becomes hysterical. Realizing he’s pushed Wanda and Pietro to the breaking point, Magneto decides to regroup. His team flees in a large hovercraft, abandoning the Blob.
Soon after, Magneto is contacted by a mutant pro wrestler called Unus the Untouchable, requesting to join his team. Due to his bad experience with the Blob, Magneto decides to proceed cautiously. After observing Unus in action and noting his power to create an impenetrable force field around himself, Magneto sends Mastermind to meet with Unus. Magneto is willing to consider Unus for membership if he proves himself in combat with one or more X-Men. However, though he makes two attempts, Unus is thoroughly defeated by the X-Men and does not attempt to contact Magneto again.
February 1963 – Magneto continues educating Wanda and Pietro while they are living together in Manhattan. Despite his sudden restraint, even benevolence, toward the twins, Magneto senses they are still constantly on edge and their behavior is unpredictable. He feels increasingly confident, though, that Quicksilver’s views on the human race match his own.
March 1963 – Magneto holds a small birthday celebration for Wanda and Pietro, though the twins claim to have lost track of exactly how old they are. Despite his growing sexual frustration, Magneto has decided to refrain from molesting Wanda until he is more certain of their continued obedience.
April 1963 – Magneto makes contact with a powerful being calling himself the Stranger and lures him to his Manhattan headquarters. Both Magneto and Mastermind attempt to demonstrate their awesome powers, but the Stranger is unimpressed and discharges a blast of energy that wrecks the entire room. He then turns his power on Mastermind, transforming him into a living statue. Suddenly, the X-Men attack, and during the fray, the Stranger decides to depart, generating an energy vortex about himself. He invites Magneto to accompany him, so Magneto steps into the vortex, followed closely by the Toad. Moments later, they rematerialize in a lonely wooded area in New Jersey. Impressed, Magneto demands to know the full extent of the Stranger’s mutant power. His blood runs cold when the Stranger reveals he is not a mutant at all, but an alien collecting interesting specimens from various worlds to study in his laboratory in outer space. Trapped within an inescapable membrane, Magneto rages helplessly as the X-Men arrive on the scene to witness his humiliation. A moment later, the membranes covering Magneto and the Toad solidify into a protective substance, and everything goes black. When Magneto regains consciousness, he finds himself marooned on an alien world with the Toad as his only companion.
May 1963 – While the Stranger is off collecting more specimens, Magneto and the Toad are free to wander the planet. Magneto is fascinated by the numerous relics collected from all over the universe, especially the many pieces of still-functional technology. He discovers one device meant to generate fully customized slave-clones from living tissue samples and envisions one day using it to create millions of artificial mutants to overrun the earth and subjugate the human race. Hope is rekindled when Magneto discovers a graveyard of old spaceships.
June 1963 – After weeks of trial and error, Magneto finally finds a derelict spaceship that he can make operational again using his magnetic powers. The Toad is thrilled that they will be able to escape. However, fed up with his lackey’s constant fawning and brainless chatter, Magneto forces the Toad to remain behind as he blasts off and sets course back to Earth. The ship carries Magneto through hyperspace, returning him to his home planet in a very short time. Upon landing, Magneto heads immediately for Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County, New York. He locates the school with ease, which seems to confirm that his underlings’ previous failures were due to Xavier’s telepathic interference. Finding no one at home, Magneto decides to lie in wait and is thus able to pick the X-Men off one by one as they return home. When he has captured all the X-Men except Iceman, he decides to dispose of his helpless captives by launching them into the upper atmosphere in a large balloon, where they are sure to suffocate. Magneto then decides to make his foes’ mansion his new headquarters and, in a fit of rage, destroys Xavier’s mutant-detecting computer, CEREBRO. He is interrupted by the arrival of Warren Worthington, Jr. and his wife Kathryn, obviously the parents of one of the X-Men. Magneto immediately puts them into a hypnotic trance and decides to use their cells to clone an army of mutants to serve him, using the alien technology he brought from the Stranger’s world. Unfortunately, his plans are sabotaged by Iceman, who has finally appeared. Magneto is about to kill Iceman when the rest of the X-Men attack, having freed themselves from his deathtrap. Once Iceman is safe, Xavier informs Magneto that he has contacted the Stranger telepathically and the alien has already come to recapture him. Magneto flees the scene, but the Stranger easily tracks him down and sends him back to his prison planet. Magneto’s reunion with the Toad is not a happy one.
July 1963 – Magneto and the Toad are confined to the Stranger’s laboratory complex to prevent them from making another escape attempt. However, refusing to surrender, Magneto continues to experiment with the alien technology he finds, tirelessly searching for some other means to get back to Earth.
December 1963 – Magneto and the Toad encounter the Stranger’s latest acquisition from Earth when a scaly green monster calling itself the Abomination suddenly materializes in the laboratory complex. The Abomination explains that he was a normal man named Emil Blonsky until being transformed by high doses of gamma radiation. Since the Abomination is not a mutant, Magneto decides he wants nothing to do with him. In the weeks to follow, Magneto realizes the Stranger has lost interest in him and the Toad in favor of the Abomination, allowing the mutants to redouble their efforts to escape.
January 1964 – Still trapped on the Stranger’s prison planet, Magneto reaches his 35th birthday.
April 1964 – Magneto finally detects a signal from Earth that he can use as a carrier wave for an interstellar teleportation device he has discovered and promptly transports himself and the Toad home. They materialize in a castle on the north shore of Long Island and imprison the scientists who had sent the signal into space. Magneto then lures Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to the castle, intent on reforming the so-called Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. When the twins arrive, Magneto is outraged to learn they have joined the Avengers in his absence. He takes them prisoner and transports them back to his abandoned island fortress in the Atlantic Ocean. There, Magneto convinces Wanda and Pietro to accompany him to the United Nations, saying he will make the case for the establishment of a sovereign nation for mutants. They fly out to New York City the next morning, but Magneto’s impromptu speech to the assembled delegates is interrupted by the twins’ teammates Goliath, Wasp, and Hawkeye. Taking full advantage of the situation, Magneto uses his powers to jerk the arms of two gun-wielding guards in the direction of the Scarlet Witch and causes the weapons to fire. He then magnetically controls the path of the bullets, causing them to glance off Wanda’s headdress, knocking her out. Believing the humans have shot his sister, Quicksilver goes berserk and rallies to Magneto’s cause. The four outlaw mutants then leave New York and return to the remote island. Wanda revives while they are en route but soon realizes she has somehow lost her powers and sinks into a profound depression. After several days, Magneto can no longer control his lusts and begins molesting Wanda once again.
May 1964 – As the weeks pass, Magneto works on increasing his power levels, in case the Stranger should decide to come after him again. Though he manages to noticeably augment his magnetic powers, he simultaneously becomes more ruthless and cruel, giving the Toad vicious beatings on an almost daily basis. Quicksilver manages to avoid Magneto most of the time and often mollifies Magneto’s anger by echoing his anti-human sentiments. However, Magneto is furious when he learns Quicksilver took one of his airships without permission and flew to New York to attend the funeral of Charles Xavier. He suspects the young speedster of betraying him to the X-Men. Without informing the others, Magneto works on a new device he believes will allow him to enslave the minds of the entire human race, but the grieving X-Men interfere with his plan to steal a new supercomputer from a passing cargo ship. Nevertheless, Magneto essentially defeats all five X-Men single-handedly and takes them prisoner, hoping they can be led to join his cause now that Xavier is dead.
Magneto allows the Angel to escape, expecting he will unwittingly bring the Avengers into a trap. Everything goes according to plan, although Cyclops soon manages to escape his dungeon cell also. Magneto sends Quicksilver to recapture him and tortures the Toad for failing to guard the X-Men more carefully. As Magneto puts the finishing touches on his mind-control device, the Avengers arrive on the island. Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, and the Black Panther storm into his fortress, but Magneto’s device causes the X-Men to attack the heroes. However, with help from the Angel, the Avengers gain the upper hand. Goliath and the Black Panther smash their way into Magneto’s command center, so Magneto orders the Toad to activate a self-destruct system to blow up the section of the fortress containing the X-Men and the other Avengers. When the Toad does not obey fast enough, Magneto knocks him to the floor. Finally fed up with Magneto’s abuse, the Toad suddenly turns the self-destruct system to full power, starting a chain reaction that will destroy the entire island in less than a minute. Magneto is stunned by this betrayal as the Toad flees the chamber. When the X-Men and the Avengers storm into his command center, Magneto flees through a trap door and runs after the Toad. Magneto finds him lifting off in an airship, with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch aboard, and levitates himself up to join them. However, the Toad kicks him away with a sharp blow to the head. Dazed, Magneto plummets to the ocean far below as the island is ripped apart by explosions. Knowing he cannot prevail against the X-Men and the Avengers alone, Magneto envelops himself in a protective force field, plunging down through the waters to the ocean floor. He then burrows through the earth until finally emerging in the vast network of caverns known as Subterranea.
June 1964 – For weeks, Magneto explores the alloy-rich caves and tunnels of this strange underworld, using his magnetic powers to traverse great distances quickly, generally heading toward the South Pole. While passing through a series of tunnels deep beneath Antarctica, he stumbles upon an enormous installation buried within a volcano. Magneto soon determines the abandoned complex covers an area of five square miles. He reactivates the power plant, which draws its energy from deep within the earth, and discovers a treasure trove of highly advanced technology.
August 1964 – After several weeks of experimentation with this new technology, Magneto finally perfects the process he believes will mutate ordinary people into superpowered monsters, based on the research he conducted at Auschwitz under Dr. Josef Mengele. Looking for suitable test subjects, he decides to investigate the nearby Savage Land.
September 1964 – Magneto explores the Savage Land until coming across a village of Swamp Men in total chaos. He determines to take advantage of the situation and seizes power. He releases a captive tyrannosaur from a stone pyramid which was used for human sacrifices, then converts the structure into his laboratory headquarters. After installing his mutation machines, he selects a number of Swamp Men to be his guinea pigs. One by one, Magneto transforms them into bizarre superhuman forms, renaming them Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Equilibrius, Gaza, Lupo, and Piper. They call him “The Creator” and swear their undying allegiance to his cause. Magneto soon realizes the Swamp Men’s traditional enemy, Ka-Zar, the self-professed “Lord of the Savage Land,” could pose a threat to his plans.
October 1964 – Magneto is surprised when Amphibius brings him to see a body he has found in the jungle and it turns out to be the Angel. Realizing the X-Men must be pursuing him, Magneto hatches a plan to set his enemies against each other. He takes the unconscious Angel back to his laboratory, replaces his tattered costume with one of a new design, then revives him. Aware that the Angel does not recognize his old foe without his distinctive helmet, Magneto convinces him that Ka-Zar is evil and must be stopped before he tricks the X-Men into attacking the Savage Land’s persecuted mutant population. The gullible Angel agrees to help and flies off to attack his friends, much to Magneto’s amusement. He then sets about creating his eighth mutate, this time using a female test subject. With Brainchild’s assistance, Magneto transforms her into a beautiful siren and names her Lorelei. When the X-Men and Ka-Zar storm into his fortress, Lorelei holds them transfixed with her hypnotic vocalizations. Marvel Girl is unaffected, though, and attacks Magneto. Their duel destroys the laboratory, and once the mutation device is wrecked, all of Magneto’s mutates revert to their original forms. Thus freed from Lorelei’s thrall, the X-Men and Ka-Zar flee the building as it is engulfed in flames. Magneto, however, is buried under tons of rubble and crumbling machinery. Though badly injured, he eventually manages to dig his way out, only to find the entire village has burned to the ground and is deserted. Near death, Magneto collapses into unconsciousness as pteranodons circle menacingly overhead.
Magneto awakens to discover that he was rescued by the Sub-Mariner and brought to his undersea kingdom of Atlantis for medical treatment. Within a special air-filled chamber, Magneto slowly regains his strength.
December 1964 – In a makeshift laboratory set up for him by the Atlanteans, Magneto once again experiments with artificially increasing his magnetic powers. He also continues trying to convince the Sub-Mariner to join forces with him against the human race and finds Namor is actually more receptive to his arguments than he was two years ago. Knowing Namor is unreliable, though, Magneto engineers a conflict between Atlantis and the United States, hoping to spark a war that would decimate both Homo mermanus and Homo sapiens alike, leaving mutants to inherit the earth. As the Atlantean fleet of warships closes in on New York and Namor is busy fighting the Fantastic Four, Magneto makes hostages of the Invisible Girl and Namor’s beloved, the Lady Dorma, to ensure that his invasion is unopposed. Furthermore, he uses his artificially amplified powers to prevent America’s military forces from repelling the Atlantean fleet. Magneto becomes overconfident, however, and is captured by the Fantastic Four within an energy cone that absorbs and dissipates all the energy he uses against it. The hostages are set free while Magneto rages helplessly in utter defeat. As the Atlanteans withdraw peacefully, Magneto is finally taken into custody by the U.S. Army.
Magneto is transported to a specially prepared plastic prison cell at an Army base and incarcerated. Attended by guards in special anti-magnetic suits, Magneto at first fears he is helpless. But, by focusing his thoughts inward, he is eventually able to summon such a surge of magnetic energy that he bursts free of his prison like a human projectile. Unfortunately, the effect on his body is catastrophic and he is driven to the brink of madness. He travels to San Francisco and quickly sets up a new laboratory, though his latest experiments transform kidnapped homeless people into hideously deformed creatures. Magneto gives them names like Mooneye, Obar, and Krystar and treats them like slaves.
January 1965 – Magneto becomes interested in news reports of a standoff between the San Francisco Police and an armed band of African American insurgents who have occupied a slum neighborhood. Their leader, Lionel Dibbs, is aided by a man in a strange black-and-silver costume who apparently possesses a superhuman ability. Magneto assumes this “Black Bolt” must be a mutant. Thor soon appears on the scene and, after battling three other costumed “mutants,” drives off the insurgents and captures Dibbs, though Black Bolt is accidentally struck by lightning and killed. Magneto decides he must track down these unknown mutants and use them in his latest scheme. That night, Magneto breaks into the city morgue and examines the body of Black Bolt. He is confused at first when there is no sign the man was a mutant, but then he realizes the real Black Bolt must have somehow escaped with his three allies. Magneto then sends his psychic servant Mooneye to hunt them down. Before the night is out, the real Black Bolt, Medusa, Gorgon, and Karnak are all Magneto’s prisoners.
Magneto demonstrates his latest mutation device, dubbed the “Universe Machine,” by training its rays on one of his underlings, mutating him further into a frightening monster. The monster seemingly hypnotizes Black Bolt, who then accompanies Magneto on a raid of a government research installation in Washington State. They steal a cylinder containing an experimental energy source and return to San Francisco. On arrival, though, Medusa, Gorgon, and Karnak ambush them. Black Bolt then lashes out at Magneto, revealing that he had only pretended to be hypnotized. Magneto grabs the cylinder and races for the Universe Machine, only to be beaten senseless by Gorgon and Karnak. A moment later, he regains consciousness and sees his foes destroying his mutation machine, so he tries to make a run for it with the cylinder. Unfortunately, it explodes suddenly, and Magneto barely manages to shield himself with a magnetic force field. The building collapses on top of him, burying him under tons of rubble. To his horror, Magneto finds he is badly injured and too weak to free himself. He is found a day later by a city rescue crew and taken to the hospital. The changes in his brain structure wrought by the magnetic energies he constantly channels through his body have left him very nearly a gibbering lunatic.
May 1965 – Magneto is finally released from the hospital but continues his long convalescence at a private residence in San Francisco. Having gone a few months without using his powers, his insanity has abated somewhat and he feels more rational, though he still suffers from strange compulsions and delusions. While catching up on the news, he is startled to discover that Charles Xavier is still alive, which leads him to start planning an elaborate revenge upon the X-Men and the Avengers. Magneto also discovers a crude form of magnetically-induced mind-control and begins training himself in the use of this technique.
October 1965 – Though still plagued by a chronic weariness, Magneto returns to the Savage Land and sets up a new laboratory. He then tracks down the Swamp Men he had mutated last year and subjects them to a new process that leaves them permanently transformed. Leaving Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Equilibrius, Gaza, Lorelei, and Lupo to their own devices, he takes Piper and departs, bringing along four captured dinosaurs. Returning to the United States, Magneto hides out in some caverns not far from Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. He begins training Piper to control the dinosaurs with his hypnotic music and bides his time until his strength returns. Piper does not question his master’s increasingly irrational behavior.
January 1966 – Following his 37th birthday, Magneto comes to believe that the black-and-white costume he gave the Angel has been absorbing the young hero’s “mutant energy” all this time, energy which would be transferred to Magneto’s own cells if he put the costume on. So, he sneaks into the X-Men’s headquarters when he knows the Angel is alone. After drugging his foe with chloroform, Magneto dons the costume and suddenly feels restored to full health and vitality. He then dons a pair of false wings as well, bolstering his sense of having absorbed the Angel’s life-essence. Thus disguised, Magneto takes Xavier, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Iceman by surprise when they return home and easily defeats them. He then sets a trap to lure the Avengers to Xavier’s mansion. When the Scarlet Witch, Thor, Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Vision arrive on the scene, Magneto has Piper command the dinosaurs to attack them. The Avengers overcome the dinosaurs, but Magneto manages to hijack their Quinjet and take Wanda, Iron Man, Captain America, and the X-Men prisoner. He returns with Piper to his underground lair and brings the captured heroes under his sway with his new mind-control technique.
That evening, Magneto takes his super-powered slaves to crash a meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission being held at a private mansion some fifty miles from Manhattan, allowing Piper to tag along. They easily defeat the detachment of Secret Service agents guarding the meeting, and Magneto marches the conference members out to the stolen Quinjet. However, they are challenged by Thor, Black Panther, Vision, Daredevil, and the Black Widow. Magneto escapes by threatening to have Iron Man start killing the hostages, then returns to his hideout. There, he informs the delegates that he plans to cause a nuclear catastrophe, calculating that the radiation will kill 92% of the human race and turn the remainder into mutants whom he can rule. He rejects their assertions that he is completely insane. They are interrupted when Thor, Black Panther, Daredevil, and Black Widow come crashing through the roof of the cavern and attack. Magneto directs his mind-slaves to retaliate, but has difficulty controlling them all at the same time. When he no longer finds the battle amusing, Magneto begins taking over the minds of the other heroes, starting with the Black Widow. However, Piper calmly walks up behind him and knocks Magneto out with a karate chop to the back of the neck.
November 1966 – Magneto suddenly wakes up ten months later and finds himself in the basement of Xavier’s mansion. Though he has been held in a telepathically-induced catatonic state since his defeat, his deranged mind rejects the humiliating reality of the situation in favor of a bizarre fantasy in which he was imprisoned within an energy bubble at the exact center of the earth until a passing comet disturbed the planet’s lines of magnetic force enough for him to escape. He imagines that he then burrowed up through thousands of miles of liquefied rock until emerging in a cavern littered with the detritus of an ancient, technologically advanced civilization. Magneto envisions himself somehow translating the alien language in their abandoned books and learning a startling secret process for creating the ultimate mutant. Inspired by the “discovery” he believes he has made, Magneto leaves the empty mansion and establishes a new laboratory headquarters hidden within the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.
February 1967 – With his new mutation machine nearing completion, Magneto decides to reform the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He recruits Mastermind, the Blob, and Unus the Untouchable, telling them how he escaped from the center of the earth and promising them power and wealth in his new world order. Then, consumed with sexual frustration, Magneto tracks down Lorelei, finding her in a Chilean prison for women. Enraged by the filth and squalor of her conditions, Magneto wrecks the prison and slays many of its personnel. Lorelei gratefully accompanies him back to New Mexico, where Magneto finds the simple-minded girl needs little inducement to have sex with him.
May 1967 – As Magneto is preparing to create his ultimate mutate, Charles Xavier leads four new allies, Doctor Strange, Hulk, Valkyrie, and Nighthawk, to stop him. Magneto orders his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to battle these “Defenders,” giving him the opportunity to initiate the final procedure for bringing his new creation to life. With a blinding flash of light, a giant, brutish creature emerges from the mutation device. Magneto names him “Alpha, the Ultimate Mutant.” Magneto causes a cave-in to trap the heroes in his underground headquarters while Alpha teleports the Brotherhood to New York City. There, Magneto storms into the United Nations and demands that control of the world be turned over to mutants at once. When the delegates shout him down, Magneto has Alpha raise the entire building high into the sky with his astonishing psychokinetic powers. The Defenders arrive on the scene to continue their battle, but the conflict is cut short when Xavier convinces the rapidly-evolving Alpha to judge the two sides for himself. Thus, Alpha psychically scans the two teams and passes judgment against the Brotherhood. Enraged, Magneto argues his case, citing the vicious persecution that has forced him to act as he does. Alpha counters that Magneto and his allies are like errant children, and with that he envelops the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in a beam of psionic energy that regresses Magneto, Lorelei, Mastermind, Blob, and Unus to infancy. After undoing the damage he has caused, Alpha leaves Earth to seek his destiny among the stars. Charles Xavier takes custody of the five former villains, who are now roughly equivalent to nine-month-old babies.
Xavier takes the infant Magneto, along with the others, to Moira MacTaggert’s Mutant Research Centre on Muir Isle, off the coast of Scotland, and leaves them in her care. As MacTaggert examines Magneto, she soon comes to the same conclusion that Isabelle did five years before, that the tremendous magnetic energies Magneto channeled through his body altered the electrochemical balance of his brain and slowly drove him insane. She theorizes the possibility of modifying his genetic matrix to prevent this from happening again, but all her experiments end in failure. As the months pass, Magneto continues to grow and develop at a normal rate, and he shows no signs of remembering his past. Xavier and MacTaggert are therefore hopeful that Magneto’s fresh start in life will prove to be a true second chance.
January 1929 – Magneto’s birth date assumes he was on the verge of puberty in 1940. He is roughly the same age as Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert. Magneto’s homeland was revealed to be Poland in New Mutants #61. In Uncanny X-Men #150, Magneto comments that he was religious in his childhood but abandoned his faith after his experiences at the hands of the Nazis.
April 1931 – Magda’s birth date is based on the fact that she must have been young enough to avoid forced sterilization before arriving at Auschwitz in February 1943, since she obviously had three children after the war. That fact also informs my speculations about her experiences at Auschwitz and her involvement with Dr. Mengele.
May 1940 – The execution of Magneto’s parents and sister, which triggered the first manifestation of his mutant powers, was depicted in a flashback in New Mutants #49. The sequence also suggests that this experience caused his black hair to turn white.
June 1940 – In Uncanny X-Men #199, Ruth Shulman tells Kitty Pryde that Magneto had been at the Auschwitz concentration camp “from the very start.” The comment is verified by a narrative caption in Classic X-Men #12. Since Auschwitz was used initially for Polish political prisoners only, and only later became a death camp for Jews, this suggests that the Nazis were unaware of Magneto’s Jewish heritage, which greatly increases the chances of him surviving in the camp until 1945.
September 1941 – Magneto repeatedly claims that his entire family was wiped out in Auschwitz, specifically in the gas chambers, which, based on New Mutants #49, must mean his extended family. We should bear in mind that Magneto occasionally gives conflicting accounts of what happened to him during the Holocaust.
April 1943 – Charles Xavier notices Magneto’s Auschwitz tattoo in the extended flashback in Uncanny X-Men #161.
May 1943 – Magneto encounters David and Ruth Shulman again at a reunion for Holocaust survivors in Uncanny X-Men #199. There, he discovers that Chava Rosanoff was the sister of Kitty Pryde’s grandfather.
August 1943 – Magda must have been isolated from the rest of the Gypsy population of Auschwitz to have still been present when the camp was being shut down in January 1945. The brothel offers the simplest solution, along with involvement in Mengele’s experiments. Presumably, Mengele determined that Magda’s offspring were likely to be mutants and thus had a special interest in keeping her alive and fertile.
March 1944 – In X-Men #2, Magneto reveals that he had encountered the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele while at Auschwitz.
October–November 1944 – Magneto remembers having worked as a Sonderkommando during his incarceration at Auschwitz in Uncanny X-Men #274. Since the Sonderkommandos were routinely murdered as a matter of policy, it is more likely that Magneto did this job for a brief time near the end of the war, under unusual circumstances. I like the idea that Magneto owes his life to Mengele, considering the parallels between Mengele’s inhuman experiments and Magneto’s own later experiments on the Savage Land Mutates and other hapless victims.
January 1945–August 1949 – Magneto’s rescue of Magda, their escape from Auschwitz, and subsequent life together is chronicled in Classic X-Men #12. Although Anya may have looked somewhat older in that story, we are a bit hemmed in by the fact that Wanda and Pietro can be born no later than 1950 to have reached puberty in time to join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in Uncanny X-Men #4. Anyway, when Magneto describes these events to Storm in Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men #4, he states that Anya was two years old. Incidentally, Stan Lee first speculated about Magneto’s infallible sense of direction in Daredevil #4, of all places.
March 1950 – The birth of Wanda and Pietro is first depicted in Giant-Size Avengers #1 and further elaborated on in Avengers #186. Magneto does not learn of Magda’s fate, or that Wanda and Pietro are his children, until he meets the midwife, Bova, in the fourth and final issue of the first Vision and the Scarlet Witch limited series.
May 1956 – Magneto’s first meeting with Charles Xavier is shown in Uncanny X-Men #161.
January–March 1962 – Magneto’s career as a Nazi hunter is documented in Classic X-Men #19.
July 1962 – The villainous Dr. Strange makes his one-and-only appearance in Tales of Suspense #41. The real name of this criminal genius was never revealed in any canonical story, so I fashioned this one for my own convenience. I assumed his name was similar enough to “Strange” to inspire the newspaper editors to call him that, and Stranczek, a Czech name, works perfectly. Karel I derived from his daughter’s name, Carla, figuring that such a megalomaniac would surely have named his offspring after himself, regardless of the sex. It is also, incidentally, the name of the Czech writer who coined the term “robot,” Karel Čapek.
October 1962 – Magneto makes his debut in Uncanny X-Men #1. His first encounter with Wanda and Pietro is shown in flashback in Uncanny X-Men #4, with further details provided in Avengers #47.
November–December 1962 – Magneto’s band of followers appears in Uncanny X-Men #4–6. Interestingly, Stan Lee never actually calls them “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.” That phrase is used as the story title in Uncanny X-Men #4 (also appearing on the cover), and describes Magneto’s team in a newspaper headline in Strange Tales #120 (meant as a plug for Uncanny X-Men #4, which was still on sale), but neither Magneto, any of his team, Xavier, the X-Men, or even the narrative captions use that term to refer to Magneto’s group until the Roy Thomas-scripted Avengers #47. Since it has always bothered me that Magneto would call his team that, since he saw his actions as perfectly justified, not evil, I speculate that he actually called them “The Mutant Brotherhood,” as he very nearly does in Journey into Mystery #109. In the Original Marvel Universe, it was the international news media that dubbed them “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants,” and after a while the name stuck. In the real world, it was the fans who used that name for the villainous team, the first to do so in print being Larry Brown of Bay City, Michigan, on the letters page of Uncanny X-Men #6. Other fans would follow suit, but for some reason, Stan never did so. In the stories, Stan used “the evil mutants” or “Magneto and his evil mutants,” and on the letters pages he used “our Evil Mutants” and “Magneto’s merry mutants,” but he never once referred to them as “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” or even “The Brotherhood.” Thus, claiming that Magneto’s team called themselves “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” during its original incarnation is a supposition unsupported by any evidence.
On an unrelated point, Magneto’s sexual abuse of the Scarlet Witch is my attempt to explain what happened to her to lead her to see a weird-looking artificial man, the Vision, as husband material, along with her other apparent sexual hang-ups. Given Magneto’s violent abuse of both Mastermind and the Toad, as well as his other insane, ruthless actions during this period, molestation can hardly be said to be out-of-character for the Mutant Master of Magnetism. That said, it’s possible Magneto was being manipulated by Immortus as part of his own long-range plans for Wanda, as hinted at in Avengers West Coast #60. For further discussion of this admittedly controversial idea, see OMU: ScarletWitch -- Part One and How Would You Fix... the Scarlet Witch’s Insanity?
January 1963 – Magneto battles Thor solo in Journey into Mystery #109. He then tries to recruit the Blob in Uncanny X-Men #7. Unus the Untouchable fails his membership test in the following issue, in which Magneto lurks behind the scenes.
February 1963 – Magneto remains behind the scenes when Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch sneak out and get into a fight with the Human Torch and the Thing, as depicted in Strange Tales #128.
April 1963 – Magneto’s disastrous encounter with the Stranger occurs in Uncanny X-Men #11.
June 1963 – Magneto escapes captivity to menace the X-Men again in Uncanny X-Men #17–18.
December 1963 – The Stranger transports the Abomination to his prison planet at the conclusion of the Hulk story in Tales to Astonish #91. Magneto makes specific reference to the Abomination during his next appearance, though their actual meeting is never shown.
April 1964 – Magneto and the Toad finally escape from the Stranger and return to Earth in Avengers #47. One of the captured scientists is Dane Whitman, soon to become the second Black Knight, though he remains unconscious the whole time the villains are around. Magneto’s abduction of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch and the resultant altercation with the Avengers occurs over the next two issues. Magneto is unaware that Wanda’s power loss is the result of the sorcerous machinations of the demon Chthon, who is hoping to get her to turn to black magic.
May 1964 – Magneto takes on the X-Men and the Avengers simultaneously in a story that wends through Uncanny X-Men #43–45 and Avengers #53.
June–October 1964 – Magneto’s time in the Savage Land is chronicled in Uncanny X-Men #62–63. His sub-Antarctic base is first seen in Uncanny X-Men #112. I think it much more likely that Magneto found such a fantastic complex rather than building it himself. That Magneto would conduct Mengele-like experiments on the primitive Swamp Men of the Savage Land shows just how insane using his powers has made him. Following his defeat at the hands of Ka-Zar and the X-Men, Magneto is rescued by the Sub-Mariner at the beginning of Fantastic Four #102.
December 1964 – The epic Magneto/Sub-Mariner team-up/double-cross happens in Fantastic Four #102–104. Magneto’s escape from prison is revealed in flashback in Amazing Adventures #9.
January 1965 – Magneto is behind the scenes during Lionel Dibbs’s siege of Johnson Street in Amazing Adventures #8 and then battles the Inhumans in Amazing Adventures #9–10.
October 1965 – Magneto stays behind the scenes as the Savage Land Mutates are restored to their villainous glory in Avengers #105. Apparently, Ka-Zar refers to them as “the Beast-Brood.”
January 1966 – Magneto tries to get his revenge on the X-Men and the Avengers in Avengers #110–111. I maintain that Magneto is delusional about the properties of the Angel’s black-and-white costume. He’s pretty much completely off his rocker at this point. When Piper takes out Magneto with a well-placed karate chop, he has been “possessed” by the Vision’s semi-tangible form. At the conclusion of this tale, Professor X telepathically sedates Magneto until they can figure out what to do with him.
November 1966 – With all due respect to Len Wein, the tale that Magneto tells in Defenders #15 is complete and utter balderdash. I am convinced that it actually represents a hallucination Magneto had while he was in a telepathically induced coma in the basement of the X-Men’s headquarters. Xavier had already similarly held the Juggernaut and Morbius the Living Vampire for extended periods, so it’s no stretch to say he had Magneto on ice for most of the year. First of all, the idea that Magneto could be held at the exact center of the earth—where the magnetic lines of force are in such perfect balance as to nullify his powers—is ludicrous, because the exact center of the earth is solid iron, with a temperature close to that of the surface of the sun. And if Thor trapped him in a bubble of “raw energy” for months, what did he eat and drink? And why hasn’t Thor imprisoned other villains in this manner? What exactly happened to this energy bubble when a passing comet shifted the planet’s magnetic forces, allowing him to escape? Did it disappear, leaving Magneto in a place where the intense pressure causes matter to instantly crystalize? Assuming he somehow got through thousands of miles of solid and then liquid iron and on up through the mantle to Subterranea, what did Magneto eat and drink all the time he was exploring the remains of this long-dead civilization? And if these aliens were so technologically advanced, why did they publish their research in hardcover books, and how the heck did Magneto even translate a language “that was surely never of this earth” anyway? The whole scenario is clearly the product of a deranged mind. But Magneto would rather believe this nonsensical sci-fi fantasy than accept the humiliating reality of being Xavier’s helpless prisoner. I would guess that Xavier lost his hold on Magneto while he was preoccupied with the Secret Empire’s attempted takeover of the United States, perhaps at the exact moment he and his allies were momentarily laid low by the villains’ “atomic annihilator” weapon. This is why I place Magneto’s awakening where I do.
February 1967 – For Lorelei’s perspective of these events, see OMW: Lorelei.
May 1967 – Magneto is finally defeated in Defenders #15–16, in such a way that his life effectively ends and starts over again. Professor X recruits the Defenders because the X-Men are off investigating the mystery of Krakoa in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Following this story, Xavier hands the babies off to Moira MacTaggert, as seen in a flashback in X-Men #2. Magneto’s hair remains white because Alpha actually created an infantile version of Magneto’s adult form, which is why Lorelei did not regress to a swamp savage. This is also why Davan Shakari’s Shi’ar technology could restore Magneto and the others to adulthood with all their memories intact. Moira explains her attempt to experiment on Magneto while he was an infant in X-Men #2–3. The second phase of Magneto’s life begins in Uncanny X-Men #104, some 20 months later.
OMU Note: The final canonical appearance of Magneto was in X-Men #3.
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