Magneto is one of the most popular mutants in Marvel Comics and served as a ruthless villain for much of his existence. While most superheroes and supervillains have aliases they use in order for their identity to remain somewhat hidden, Magneto was infamous under many names. Erik, Max, Magnus, and Magneto are just some of the names that other characters called him through the ages, and today, we’re going to discover when and where Magneto decided to take on the name “Magnus.”
Magneto was born under the name Max Eisenhardt but decided to change it to hide his past
We know that Magneto’s history is extremely complicated as he grew up as a Jew in Nazi Germany and has felt on his skin the worst humanity can offer. He was not always a villain; in fact, Magneto’s powers awakened long after he had already been imprisoned at the concentration camps.
He was born under the name Max Eisenhardt and was known as such for the majority of his early life until circumstances forced him to change it.
Following his escape from Auschwitz, Max married Romani girl Magda, a girl he knew from high school, and they had a child together following their escape from the death camps. At first, they lived in the Carpathian mountains, but Max decided to look for opportunities to improve his life and the life of his family by looking for work in the Soviet city Vinnytsia.
In Vinnytsia, it seemed like Max would finally be able to be a respectable member of society, but his powers awakened when his boss tried to cheat him out of his pay, and he used his magnetic powers to strike him with a metal bar. His boss reported him to the KGB, and they were swift on their way to arrest him.
Max was arrested at the worst time possible while his daughter was dying in a fire that broke out in the inn where the family was staying. Anya practically died in front of his eyes, and enraged, Max killed a lot of people that day and practically destroyed half of the city. Seeing the destruction he was able to cause, Magda, Max’s wife, got really scared and ran away from him.
Max wasn’t about to give up on his wife, and obviously, he had to hide his real identity since a lot of people were looking for him, and not for a good reason. Magneto hired a world-class forger called George Odekirk and bought himself a new identity, that of a Sinti Romani Holocaust survivor. Magneto changed his name to “Erik Lehnsherr” so that he could assimilate better with Magda’s people and look for her in the camps.
At first, it was believed that Magda gave birth to Wanda and Pietro Maximoff somewhere in the Wundagore mountains, but this was later retconned, and it turned out that Magda actually died in Transia.
At some point during this period, Magneto added “Magnus” as his middle name and was known as Erik Magnus Lehnsherr.
Eventually, several decades later, the X-Men were looking into Magneto’s real identity, and they managed to track down Odekirk, who gave him the new name. Magneto returned to kill Odekirk since he was the only one who knew about his real identity, and despite pleading with the mutant, Odekirk was killed. In ‘X-Men’ #72, Magneto decides to ditch “Erik Lehnsherr,” and he has taken on Magnus as his primary name.
Charles Xavier met Magneto under the guise of Magus
Magneto and Charles Xavier first met in Haifa, Israel, and it’s quite possible that Magneto used that name at the time since it was the first name under which Xavier knew him. They became fast friends at first, and Xavier liked to debate topics revolving around mutants and humans and their con-existence, although Xavier was more of a pacifist and idealist, while Magneto had a taste of stark reality and was sure that humans would always attempt to kill mutants.
They eventually split after they realized that their views were incompatible, but Magneto still didn’t ditch the name Magnus. Under the name Magnus, Magneto worked with Western intelligence agencies and Mossad at the same time.
When did Magnus become Magneto?
Now, the nickname Magneto was not part of Max’s early life as he took it much, much later. You see, while Magneto was working for Western intelligence services, he was tasked with capturing Nazi criminals and delivering them. Magnus would, instead of delivering nazis to Westerners, drop them straight into the hands of Mossad, where they would undergo Israeli trial.
Magnus, a double-agent, was allowed by his “control” to deliver Nazi war criminals to Israel as long as they were approved by the USSR. However, when Magnus tried to hand over Nazi Hans Richter, agents from a Western intelligence agency intervened, killing his girlfriend Isabelle. Enraged, Magnus retaliated by killing his “control” and associates, shattering any remaining trust he had in humanity.
It was following this event that Magnus took on the alias “Magneto” and started planning the destruction of humans.
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