10 Things Only Comic Book Fans Know About Professor X & Magneto's Rivalry – Screen Rant

Charles Xavier and Magneto have a complicated relationship in Marvel comics, acting as both friends and foes throughout their intricate history
The relationship between Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X, and Erik Lehnsherr, AKA Magneto, is one of the most complex in Marvel and a cornerstone of the X-Men franchise. The friends turned enemies turned friends again share a bond that many people can’t understand. Beneath their rivalry exists a genuine friendship, torn apart by their contrasting personalities.
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What’s even more compelling is that Professor X and Magneto fight for the same thing. However, their approach and ideologies are so fundamentally opposite that they can’t help but be enemies, even if they still sympathize with each other. Their dynamic is a prominent part of almost all X-Men storylines, but mainstream audiences might not know about several details in their contemptuous relationship.
Xavier and Magneto – then going by the name Magnus – met while volunteering at a clinic for traumatized Holocaust victims in Haifa, Israel. The two engaged in passionate debates about a potential new race of superhumans; Xavier believed these new superhumans could co-exist with humans, but Magnus’ experiences in the Holocaust led him to believe such a thing was impossible.
Eventually, the two revealed their powers to each other and took down Baron Von Strucker together. Xavier prevented Magnus from killing Strucker, with both realizing their views on human-mutant relationships were incompatible. Magnus left with Strucker’s gold, and Xavier remained in Israel.
Despite the bad blood between them, Xavier and Magneto share mutual respect and admiration. Xavier is also the only person that Magneto considers his equal and the only person he trusts. For example, Magneto brings the comatose Scarlet Witch to Xavier during the infamous House of M storyline.
Rivalry aside, Magneto knew that Xavier would empathize with Wanda’s struggle to control her erratic powers. This simple act summarizes their relationship perfectly; Magneto and the Professor know that they can trust and, at times, even depend on each other because they are mutant brothers, first and foremost.
Comic book fans know Xavier is the world’s most powerful telepath, widely believed to have the mightiest brain on Earth. He has a myriad of abilities, but precognition isn’t one. However, he once had a premonition of Magneto’s first attack. The vision also included the still unseen Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Xavier’s precognitive abilities never showed up again, further putting into question the mysterious vision. Was it another sign that his bond with Magneto is too strong? After all, they know each other so well, and they often anticipate each other’s moves.
Xavier and Magneto eventually reconciled their differences and joined in the Krakoa project. Krakoa is an all-mutant nation and sentient island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, established by Xavier. The Professor and Magneto are prominent members of Krakoa’s Quiet Council, the island’s governing body.
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Magneto and Xavier’s relationship has only grown closer in recent issues, and the younger X-Men even nicknamed them “the Helmet Bros.” Magneto’s helmet has long been subject to ridicule, with many fans comparing it to a bucket. However, Xavier’s Cerebro remained mockery-free for years. Alas, no one is safe from a youth’s trolling.
During the 80s, Magneto’s character suffered a considerable shift. He repents and even attempts some forms of redemption, to the point where he accepts to stand trial for his past crimes. Xavier heads the defense along with Gabrielle Heller, a woman they both met while in Halifa.
The Trial of Magneto is a pivotal moment in their relationship and provides many of Magneto’s most wholesome moments in the comics. The event ends with Xavier’s apparent death and Magneto’s commitment to leading the X-Men. It also features Von Strucker’s twin children, another callback to Magneto and Xavier’s first adventure together.
For all their differences, Xavier and Magneto share many similarities that led to their initial friendship. For example, they both believe that mutants are an improvement over the Homo Sapiens. They are also natural-born mentors and leaders, who often take strays and alienated people under their wings.
Furthermore, Xavier and Magneto share a stubbornness that makes them relentless when pursuing their goals. They also share a “the end justifies the means” way of thinking and take it upon themselves to do the things that others wouldn’t dare. They are both ruthless in their pursuits, and although Magneto has a more shameless attitude, Xavier isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Charles and Xavier complement each other. Xavier is someone who’s always trying to help, whether people want or even need his assistance. He has a superiority complex, a self-righteousness that keeps him attached to Erik, wanting to rescue him.
For his part, Magneto knows that his fight is the same as Charles’ and doesn’t understand the professor’s non-confrontational attitude. There’s a desire to see eye-to-eye with Charles, but Magneto still believes his way is correct, and so he tries to turn Charles to his side, knowing that together they’d be unstoppable. In many ways, Xavier and Magneto need each other; they keep each other inspired and are constant reminders of what’s at stake.
Xavier and Erik’s relationship has always allowed room for a romantic interpretation, especially in recent years. Movies like X-Men and X-Men: First Class enhanced the subtext, thanks to the subtle dynamic between Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and the outright electric chemistry between Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.
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The are multiple arguments to support a potential romantic element to their relationship. Indeed, Xavier and Erik consider each other kindred spirits, two sides of the same coin destined to always be in each others’ lives. The comics never outright state a physical or romantic relationship between them, but their constant involvement in each others’ lives is proof enough to say that there’s enough potential in there, at the very least.
Onslaught is one of the most divisive creations in Marvel history. A combination of Xavier and Magneto’s consciousnesses, Onslaught represents the worst parts of both characters. It was born after the Professor shut Magneto’s mind down, rendering him catatonic. In the process, Magneto’s negative feelings–anger, grief, vengeance–entered Xavier’s mind, fusing with his own darkness and creating a separate psionic entity.
The character is the perfect representation of Xavier and Magneto’s might. It became one of the most dangerous threats in Marvel, one that not even the Avengers or the Fantastic Four could beat.
The Age of Apocalypse timeline introduced one of the most unexpected romances in X-Men continuity by having Magneto and Rogue become a couple. The two eventually marry and even have a son, who Erik names Charles, in honor of the deceased Professor.
The tribute speaks to Magneto’s lingering feelings for his fallen friend. Erik and Charles have an overly complicated rivalry, but there’s always respect underneath. Conflicts come and go, but these two mighty mutants will always have a soft spot for each other.
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David is a twenty-eight-year-old Mexican writer and reader. Having studied Marketing in school, he spent three years working a nine-to-five desk job before deciding to pursue a writing career. He now works as a Senior Writer in ScreenRant and does some more freelancing job, talking about the entertainment business he so loves. Currently, he’s also writing his second novel while actively working to get his first one published.


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