Published May 15, 2024

Professor X & Magneto's Relationship, Explained

Rediscover the highs and lows of Charles Xavier and Magneto's relationship, from their first falling out to their partnership on Krakoa and everything in between.

On their own, Professor X and Magneto have both formed iconic groups and left a lasting legacy on the Marvel Universe. However, these two mutant visionaries will always be defined by their relationship to each other.

From their early days as friends to their time as bitter rivals and their eventual reconciliation, Charles Xavier and Max Eisenhardt have dedicated themselves to building a better future for all mutants through their dueling visions. While those disagreements turned Magneto into one of the X-Men's deadliest foes, their shared goals eventually caused these leaders to embrace each other again in a world that had moved beyond their visions.

Now, let's take a closer look at Professor X and Magneto's long history, how their friendship began, and how it fell apart multiple times before it became stronger than ever. 


When Professor X and Magneto met for the first time, the existence of mutants was still a secret to most of the world. Magneto, then going by Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, and Charles Xavier both worked at a psychiatric hospital in Israel that treated Holocaust survivors. Although neither revealed their status as a mutant, Xavier started to suspect Magnus was a mutant when he had trouble reading his mind during their first conversation, as revealed in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #161 by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum

With their shared interest in mutants, Xavier and Magnus became fast friends, and Magnus even encouraged Xavier to pursue a romance with his recently recovered patient Gabrielle Haller. Even then, Xavier and Magneto engaged in spirited disagreements over their dueling philosophies of human-mutant coexistence and mutant supremacy.   

Professor X and Magneto's relationship changed forever when Baron Von Strucker and Hydra kidnapped Gabrielle as they searched for lost gold. Xavier and Magnus teamed up to rescue Gabrielle, revealing their powers to each other in the process. After the ordeal soured him on humanity, Magnus left Xavier and took the gold to fund his war on humanity and build his Asteroid M space station.


Xavier attempted to talk his old friend onto a different path, but to no avail. Magneto declared war on humans and tried to take over the Cape Citadel missile base in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

After Xavier's newly formed X-Men saved Cape Citadel and defeated Magneto in several subsequent battles, Magneto created a powerful being called Alpha, the Ultimate Mutant. With the X-Men on another mission, Xavier teamed up with the Defenders to confront him. 

Once the constantly-evolving Alpha considered Xavier, Magneto, and their dueling philosophies, he turned Magneto into an infant in DEFENDERS (1972) #16 by Len Wein and Sal Buscema. Xavier placed Magneto in the care of Moira MacTaggert, who tried to genetically modify him to be more mentally stable. 

After he rapidly aged back into adulthood, Magneto confronted Xavier's growing roster of X-Men. He even managed to defeat the team, briefly imprisoning them in his underground Antarctic base. He also created an island base in the Bermuda Triangle and brought down a nuclear submarine. However, Magneto was rattled during a battle with the X-Men, during which he almost killed the teenage hero, Kate "Kitty" Pryde, in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #150 by Claremont and Cockrum.


After years apart, Magneto worked with Professor X and the X-Men when William Stryker and his Purifiers began killing mutants in X-MEN: GOD LOVES, MAN KILLS – SPECIAL EDITION (1982) #1 by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson. When Stryker forced him to attack the X-Men, Xavier considered abandoning his mission and embracing Magneto's way, but Cyclops ultimately convinced his mentor to continue pursuing his dream. 

When the Beyonder transported them all to Battleworld, Magneto teamed up with Professor X and the X-Men again in the original SECRET WARS (1984), and he even had a brief romance with Lee Forrester, a human sailor.

Around this time, Professor X and Moira MacTaggert quietly brought Magneto into their secret plans to save mutantkind, as revealed in POWERS OF X (2019) #2 by Jonathan Hickman and R.B. Silva. With Xavier's help, Moira showed Magneto she was a mutant who had lived through several previous timelines where mutants were eventually exterminated. 

Shaken by the doomed futures he saw, Magneto joined MacTaggert and Xavier's plans to build a sustainable mutant nation on the island of Krakoa. Without Moira's knowledge, he and Xavier also approached Mister Sinister about creating a database of genetic mutant samples, which they would later use to resurrect dead mutants on the island.


Once Magneto started working more closely with Professor X and his students, he reformed and publicly joined the X-Men. After a weakened Professor X telepathically asked Magneto for help dealing with the Beyonder, Magneto came to the X-Men's aid again. 

Magneto even stopped Rachel Summers, a mutant from a future where mutant-hunting Sentinels took over America, from killing a human who shot at her in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #196 by Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr. As he explained, Magneto had come to believe his actions had only made things worse for mutants and that killing humans justified the hatred and fear humans felt for mutants. 

Magneto surrendered himself to the authorities and stood trial for his crimes, but his trial was interrupted by an attack from Fenris, the twin children of Baron Von Strucker, in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #200 by Claremont and Romita Jr. When Xavier was seriously wounded, he asked a shocked Magneto to lead the X-Men while he recovered in space. Although Magneto briefly mentored the New Mutants and forged an alliance with the Hellfire Club, he realized he could not replace Xavier or successfully replicate his methods.


Although Magneto tried to retire to the solitude of Asteroid M, he and Professor X had their fiercest battles following his time with the X-Men. After gaining a zealous new group of followers called the Acolytes, Magneto reignited his war on humanity when he learned Moira had tried to alter his genetics. 

During the "Fatal Attractions" crossover, Magneto set off an electromagnetic pulse that killed thousands by wiping out the world's electronics. He also brutally ripped the adamantium metal off Wolverine's bones in X-MEN (1991) #25 by Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert

In retaliation, Professor X unleashed a vicious telepathic attack on Magneto. Although that attack left Magneto incapacitated, the momentary merger of Xavier and Magneto's minds created an evil psychic entity called Onslaught, which briefly took over the X-Men founder's body.  

Once Magneto and Professor X recovered, the Master of Magnetism attacked the world again in X-MEN: THE MAGNETO WAR (1999) #1 by Alan DavisFabian Nicieza, and Lee Weeks. During that ordeal, Magneto took control of the mutant nation Genosha. Once he rebuilt Genosha, Magneto kidnapped Xavier and threatened to wage war on the human world. He was only stopped when Wolverine seriously wounded him in X-MEN (1991) #113 by Scott Lobdell and Leinil Francis Yu.


When Cassandra Nova's Sentinels destroyed Genosha, the still-recovering Magneto seemingly died alongside the rest of the island's population. However, that massacre merely paved the way for Professor X and Magneto to rekindle their friendship. 

As Xorn killed Jean Grey and thousands of humans while impersonating him, the real Magneto remained in the rubble of Genosha, unaware of the outside world. Xavier found him, and the two old friends put their differences aside to rebuild Genosha together in EXCALIBUR (2004) #1 by Chris Claremont and Aaron Lopresti. In the lead-up to HOUSE OF M (2005), they also tried to help Magneto's troubled adoptive daughter, the Scarlet Witch

Although Professor X and Magneto briefly lost their powers, they each found ways to restore their abilities. Magneto even helped restore an amnesiac Xavier's mind in X-MEN: LEGACY (2008) #210 by Mike Carey and Scot Eaton

However, both leaders felt that mutant culture had started to grow beyond them, especially once Cyclops gathered the world's remaining mutants on the island of Utopia. After they both moved to the island, they followed Cyclops' lead until the X-Men leader was possessed by the Dark Phoenix and killed Professor X in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (2012) #11 by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel.


Following his resurrection, Professor X joined Magneto and Moira MacTaggert, their secret partner, in formally establishing the mutant nation of Krakoa in HOUSE OF X (2019) #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz. Together, Xavier and Magneto served as the public face of Krakoa and set up the nation by recruiting other mutant leaders, making trade deals, perfecting the process of resurrecting dead mutants, and preparing for threats like the mutant-hating organization Orchis. Professor X and Magneto also served as two members of the Quiet Council, the nation's first governing body.

While leading Krakoa, Magneto led the effort to terraform Mars and turn it into a habitable planet for the Arakki, a long-lost ancient race of mutants. However, the pair's influence over Krakoa began to weaken, especially when MacTaggert's secrets were revealed to the Quiet Council and she left to join Orchis. 

Where Magneto stepped down from the Quiet Council and took a more prominent role in Arakko, Xavier tried to guide Krakoa through several damaging crises. In their time apart, Professor X succumbed to despair after Orchis pushed mutants to the brink of extinction, and Magneto died, only to be resurrected with a new willingness to lead mutants to a better future.

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