One of the most misunderstood Mutants in the Marvel universe is Magneto (aka Max Eisenhardt aka Erik Magnus Lehnsherr.)
Hero, Genetic savior, Villain, or Mutant leader – his motives have always been to protect genetically enhanced individuals (aka Mutants) from suffering a fate that befell his own family. His past is a grisly one, full of tragedy and death.
As a child, Magneto grew up in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. His family murdered by the Nazis for being Jews. After the holocaust, he later fell in love and married.
Tragedy struck again when he was unable to save his child Anya from a house fire due to his inexperience with his powers, coupled with the interference from a mob of villagers. Distraught from his loss, he lashed out at the villagers slaughtering them. His wife Magda terrified seeing him use his powers left him (with his two unborn children-twins).
His misguided beliefs caused him to create the brotherhood of Mutants. And this group was constantly opposed by groups such as the X-men, Avengers, etc.
He was reduced to infancy by the mutant Alpha and was left in the care of Moira Mactaggert on Muir island. He was returned to adulthood by the Shiar alien Eric the Red. And continued his campaign of mutant supremacy.
Due to several events (His attack on the X-men where Kitty Pryde almost died, the loss of Asteroid M, falling in love with Forrester) Magneto decided to turn himself over to the World court to be tried for his crimes.
Found not guilty, he served as headmaster at Xavier’s school during the absence of Professor X. Partly becoz he made a promise to Xavier and partially because he believed he could do some good. However as headmaster his student Cypher died, Illayana turned dark (Inferno storyline), the other students rebelled and his alliances were lost.
After his time in the savage land, Magneto isolated himself on Asteroid M until he was contacted by the mutant group known as the Acolytes. Renewing his desires to protect mutantkind, Magneto setup Asteroid M as a sovereign state for Mutants. His plan was corrupted due to one of his new followers (Fabian Cortez) betraying him. It took all of Magneto’s powers to prevent the nuclear missiles from blowing up – however he could not keep Asteroid M in orbit. As a result it crashed on Earth.
Months later the wreckage was found, but Magneto was missing. He later returned more powerful than ever to a more fanatical group of Acolytes. He once again threatened the earth from his new orbital base “Avalon” wherein the X-men opposed him with Professor X erasing his mind.
He later re-emerged with his memories intact thanks to the help of Astra (former member of the brotherhood; Astra also cloned Magneto – an amnesiac known as Joseph – a tale for another time). Rejuvenated, Magneto attempted to disrupt Earth’s magnetic field but was opposed by his clone Joseph and the X-men.
It was after this crisis the UN gave control of Genosha to Magneto…(this however is not the end of his story…)