Magneto is the oldest and most dangerous enemy of the X-Men. His viewpoint is diametrically opposed to Charles Xavier's belief that humans and mutants can co-exist peacefully. A Holocaust survivor, Magneto believes a war between humans and mutants is inevitable and refuses to allow mutantkind to be rounded up and exterminated. Because of this belief, he wages a war on humankind.
Erik Magnus Lehnscherr (also known as Max Eisenhardt, Erik Magnus or simply Magnus) first appeared in X-Men #1 (1963) and has been liked to that team ever since. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The man who would eventually become known worldwide as the mutant terrorist Magneto was born in Germany and saw his family die in the death camp Auschwitz. While there, he met Magda, another prisoner who would became his wife after the two survived the Holocaust. The two had a daughter, Anya, who was killed in a house fire. This was the first time Magneto (then known as Magnus) would consciously utilize his mutant ability. He was unable to save Anya due to his inexperience and met with an angry and fearful mob. Lashing out in anger, Magnus slaughtered the humans and Magda left him.
Eventually adopting the identity of Erik Lehnscherr, Magneto met and befriended Charles Xavier, a fellow mutant, while the two worked at a psychiatric hospital in Israel. The two hypothesized and debated about the rise of the homo superior and eventually revealed their powers to each other while battling Baron Von Strucker and the forces of Hydra. Realizing that their views were incompatible, Magneto departed with a cache of Nazi gold, which he used to start his war against humanity while Xavier eventually went on to found his School for Gifted Youngsters and lead the X-Men. Over time, Magneto became the X-Men's most prominent adversary, devoting his life to the notion that homo superior would become the dominant species on earth and forming The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to aid him in his goals. Various incarnations of The Brotherhood would clash with the X-Men over the years and Magneto eventually softened his outlook and rekindled his friendship with Xavier. For a time he even served as Headmaster of Xavier's school in Charles' absence. But time and time again, Magneto has found himself at odds with Professor Xavier's dream of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants. While he sees himself as a hero, Magneto's dedication to protecting his people more often finds him siding with the forces of evil. He remains a powerful enemy of the X-Men and humanity in general.
Magneto has the ability to manipulate the earth's electromagnetic field to a variety of different effects and is generally depicted as being one of the most powerful mutants on earth. His range of powers includes flight and the creation of force-fields that protect him from harm and even allow him to travel unaided in the depths of outer space. Magneto has utilized his powers to lift a 30,000-ton submarine and even move asteroids out of their orbit. The full range of his ability is at present time unknown, but he has also shown limited ability to control any form of energy that exists within the electromagnetic spectrum including light, radio waves and x-rays. In addition, Magneto has been shown to be able to block even the most powerful telepathic attacks. It is unknown if this ability is due to a mutant power or if it has been honed over years of practice. Either way, it gives him another formidable advantage over Charles Xavier. Magneto also possesses a genius-level intellect, including mastery over advanced sciences, genetics, engineering and many other forms of technology. He is a master strategist and possesses extensive combat training.
While he typically has no need for weapons, Magneto has designed various robots, computers and magnetically-powered generators and vehicles, as well as a helmet that prevents telepathic attacks.
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