Erik M. Lehnsherr or Magneto, is one of the world's most powerful mutants and the X-Men's most dangerous foe. His incredible ability to manipulate the earth's magnetic fields allows him to control all forms of metal by using his mind. Unlike Professor Xavier who dreams of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants, Magneto believes the only way he can protect his fellow mutants from persecution is by conquering the earth. Magneto has formed a Brotherhood of Mutants that he now leads in his quest for world domination for homo superior. The only ones that can stand in their way are the X-Men.
In 1944, Erik Lensherr was forcibly separated from his parents by Nazi soldiers in German-occupied Poland. Under this stress, Lensherr's powers began to manifest and in his panic, Lensherr twisted open a metal fence separating him from his parents before being knocked unconscious.
During his stay, he first encountered the Nazi collaborator named Sebastian Shaw. Shaw murdered Erik's mother and tortured him over the next several years in an attempt to draw out the boy's mutant powers through his anger. After the conclusion of the second world war, Erik spent years trying to find Shaw and exact vengeance, murdering other Nazis along the way.
He eventually tracked Shaw down to a small boat off the American coast during the height of the Cold War. His attempt at revenge was cut short when he was pummeled by Shaw's cohorts in his Hellfire Club, being no match for their mutant powers. It was at this point that he met Charles Xavier and Raven Darkholme, who were present as help in a botched CIA attempt to capture Shaw, wanted for the murder of an American general.
Together and with CIA support, Xavier and Erik gathered a team of mutant teenagers to battle the Hellfire Club, who were attempting to start a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States as part of a plot to eradicate non-mutant life on the planet and rule over the new world order. Xavier helped the teens master their powers at his mansion, including Erik. During this time, the two become close friends. However, Erik was still filled with hatred for Shaw and feared a mutant holocaust, despite Xavier's attempts to get him to let go of his hatred. Erik also motivated Mystique to become proud of her appearance, believing her desire to get rid of her blue appearance was wrong. During a mission, Erik and Xavier captured the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost.
Ultimately, the team had to jump into action to prevent the Cuban Missile Crisis from causing World War III. The Hellfire Club was also present and attempted to stop the CIA-sanctioned mutant team, but was defeated. During the encounter, Erik confronted Shaw, who attempted to bring the troubled young man to his side with promises of a new, mutant world order. Although he found he agreed with Shaw's goals, Erik refused to forgive him for what he did to his mother. Despite Xavier's pleas to be the better man, Erik killed Shaw by slowly sending a coin through his brain. When the United States and the Soviet Union struck up a quick alliance to destroy the mutants that threatened them, Magneto sent their missiles back at the fleet. Xavier tackled him and the two engaged in a fist fight, which distracted Erik long enough to prevent the missiles from killing those at sea. During a subsequent attempt by a CIA officer to shoot Erik, one of the bullets he deflected struck Xavier in the lower back, permanently crippling him. Horrified at what had transpired, Erik bid farewell to his close friend, departing with Mystique and the remaining Hellfire Club members with the vow of destroying humankind in order to save mutants. He later broke Frost out of prison, declaring himself Magneto and establishing his first Brotherhood of Mutants.
Years later, Magneto and Mystique formed a second Brotherhood of Mutants and, using a high-tech machine, the Brotherhood attempted to mutate the world's leaders, unaware that the machine would cause humans to lose their molecular structure (as seen in Senator Robert Kelly). When warned of the dangers of the machine by Jean Grey and Storm, Magneto did not believe them and attempted to use the machine on the humans but the machine was destroyed by Wolverine before it could affect them. Following this, Magneto was captured by the government and was locked up in a plastic prison.
He escaped from prison with some help from Mystique (who injected a suspension of iron particles into a security guard) and made a temporary alliance with the X-Men, after saving them from crashing their jet, to stop William Stryker from killing all of the world's mutants. Stryker had captured Xavier and built his own version of Cerebro at Alkali Lake. He used his son Jason to make Xavier to kill all of the world's mutants. Magneto stopped this and instead has Xavier try to kill all the humans before leaving the location in a helicopter. The X-Men intervened in time and prevent Xavier this.
After leaving Alkali Lake, he expanded the Brotherhood of Mutants and recruited many more mutants. He showed genuine grief over Xavier's death, speaking severely to Pyro when the latter stated that he would have killed Xavier himself had Magneto asked it of him ("Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you'll ever know. My single greatest regret is that he had to die for our dream to live."). After learning that a major company has produced a cure for the mutant gene from a young mutant known as Leech, he and his Brotherhood attacked the facility, forcing the X-Men to defend it. Wolverine and Beast worked together and inject Magneto with the "cure," which strips him of his powers. Some time after the attack, he extended his hand toward a metal chess piece and was able to move it a tiny bit, suggesting that the cure may not have been permanent and/or may not have rendered him completely powerless.
Believed to be Polish in origin, during the subject's adolescence, he and his family were sent to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. Records show that at war's end, the subject was the only member of his family to survive. Following the war, Lehnsherr traveled through Europe before arriving in Israel where he met and befriended Charles Xavier. It is possible that Lehnsherr might have fathered as many as three children. Lehnsherr has been linked to and is believed to be directly responsible for the attacks on the the Statue of Liberty and Westchester Train Station. He is also linked to the destruction at Alkali Lake. The subject was captured and held in a specially created plastic prison by the Federal Government before escaping. His current whereabouts are unknown. The subject has demonstrated sophisticated knowledge in matters of genetic manipulation and engineering and has used radiation to mutate humans. He has very little interest in or value for non-mutant human life.