As the Marvel Universe marches towards the game-changing AXIS event, Magneto will find himself in an odd position as every hero around him undergoes a moral switcheroo.
No stranger to switching sides, the mutant master of magnetism has undergone a number of heroic and villainous realignments in his 50-year history. He's led super villain groups like the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the Acolytes, but he's also served as the headmaster for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and fought alongside the X-Men as well.
Before the world gets turned upside down this fall in AXIS, let's take a look at some of the milestone moments in Magneto's life as both a hero and villain.
While Magneto may have debuted as a maniacal super villain in UNCANNY X-MEN #1, he did not gain his noted moral nuance until years later in this classic issue by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum. Instead of just wanting to flat out murder the X-Men, Magneto set his sights on ridding the world of its nuclear missiles. Of course he goes about doing this forcefully with a number of threats and ultimatums—but still, he had the planet's best interests in mind.
Magnus' firm anti-human stance softened a bit after prolonged exposure to his sworn enemies the X-Men during SECRET WARS. Upon returning to Earth, Magneto turned himself over to the law to stand trial. The mutant found himself absolved of all crimes thanks to a loophole and, charged with a desire to do good, he ended up with the keys to the X-Mansion after Xavier went into outer space to recover from injuries. The X-Men reluctantly accepted Magneto as their teammate, and the New Mutants eventually became comfortable with Magneto as their new teacher.
A few years after drifting away from his responsibilities as Xavier's fill-in, Magneto returned with a vengeance after warring factions of mutants and Russian spies brought Earthly hostilities to his asteroid headquarters. Magneto declared Asteroid M a home to any mutant seeking refuge—and decided to protect the orbiting haven with a few nuclear missiles pointed directly at Earth. The newly re-formed X-Men found themselves caught between protecting Magneto from world leaders and protecting the world from Magneto.
With his supposedly sovereign mutant nations Asteroid M, Avalon, and Genosha all destroyed, Magneto felt he had no choice but to let go of his hostilities towards the human race and instead focus on healing the remnants of the mutant race. He chose to do this by joining his old colleague—and enemy—Professor Charles Xavier in Genosha's ruins. The two mutant figureheads tried to rebuild a society for mutants on top of the ashes of the old one.
Struggling with the loss of his mutant powers after M-Day, Magneto hit rock bottom and decided to do whatever it took to get any semblance of his powers back. Armed with a technological facsimile of his old powers, Magneto attacked the X-Men with a fleet of Sentinels in order to distract them as his new ally—the High Evolutionary—stole an object from the alien Celestial body looming over San Francisco. The mad scientist then used that object to charge a device that granted Magneto the use of his mutant powers once again.
Magneto's most recent tenure with the X-Men began immediately after his mutant rebirth. He traveled to Utopia, the X-Men's newly built headquarters off the coast of San Francisco, and got down on his knees and pledged his allegiance to Cyclops—not Professor Xavier. Magneto had been impressed by Scott Summers' ability to unite the mutant race, and he remained impressed up through the fallout of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN. After years of serving by Cyclops' side, however, Magneto has finally gone rogue once again. He currently dishes out his own brand of mutant justice in the pages of MAGNETO.
Magneto begins his March to Axis in MAGNETO #11!