If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Marvel explains why Magneto keeps getting older but other Marvel heroes stay the same age

The Marvel Comics Editor says Magneto has a secondary superpower that’s right in front of our faces.

Image credit: John Tyler Christopher (Marvel Comics)

Marvel Comics Editor Tom Brevoort has explained why Magneto doesn’t seem to get any older, even as those characters around him do. The explaination was included in the latest edition of Brevoort’s weekly Substack newsletter 'Man With a Hat,' and came in response to an email inquiry from Chris Lister.

Wrote Lister: “This is something that has been bothering me for a while: regarding Magneto's age. You mentioned that FF#1 is always ’15 years ago.’ Magneto has been de-aged a few times. But since his origin is tied to WWII, he still could not have been younger than 70 even all the way back in X-Men #1. And given his long history with Charles Xavier prior to the founding of the X-Men, they must be close in age. How do you think this problem can be resolved?”

First and foremost, Brevoort conceeds the apparent indiscrepancy and admits he doesn’t think the problem can be resolved. Brevoort continued, analyzing the issue: “You simply have to accept the fact that Magneto’s mutation somehow keeps him young and vital and gives him a super-long lifespan, just as Namor’s does. And you need to accept that when he first met Charles Xavier, Magneto was at least twice his age, even if he didn’t look it.”

But while the mechanism for Magneto’s longevity may be a byproduct of his mutation, what’s the motivation behind this narrative choice? Brevoort wrote, “We can’t move World War II and we can’t divorce Magneto’s backstory from the Holocaust, so there it is.”

In the past, some Marvel Comics characters with backstories that intersected with historical events eventually had those events retconned into fictionalized 'equivalents.' This includes the participation of myriad characters including the Punisher and Iron Man in the Siancong War, which has largely been used to replace Marvel Comics narrative space previously occupied by the Vietnam War.

However, the connection between Magneto’s origins and the Holocaust is a defining element of the character across mediums. For evidence, consider the memorable Auschwitz-set opening scene of 2002’s big-screen X-Men adaptation. Fortunately, Brevoort’s reponse seems to confirm that, even if it stretches chronological credulity, Magneto’s backstory will remain inextricable from the Holocaust.

Avery Kaplan

Avery Kaplan: Avery lives and writes in Southern California. She is the co-author of Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority with her spouse, Rebecca Oliver Kaplan. Avery is Features Editor at Comics Beat, and you can also find her writing on StarTrek.com, The Gutter Review, Geek Girl Authority, and in the margins of the books in her personal library.


Want to join the discussion? Please activate your account first.
Visit Reedpop ID if you need to resend the confirmation email.

View Comments (0)

Find out how we conduct our review by reading our review policy