In Ruins of Warren Ellis (1995), Marvel’s darkest timeline saw Magneto unable to control his powers, which ended in his own magnetism killing him.
The great master of magnetism Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Multiverse, an omega-level being who masters the strength of magnetism better than anyone else on Earth … but in a gruesome dark timeline shown in Tales of Wonders: Ruins # 2 Erik Lehnsherr ends up dying with his own hands. Ellis’ Ruins shows one of the most disturbing alternate timelines ever released, and no hero or villain is immune to the gruesome reality, including the all-powerful Magneto.
Debut in 1995 as a dark parody of the Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross classic wonders series, Ruins – written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Joe Kaufman and Terese Nielsen – the series explores a Marvel timeline where “Everything went wrong”. The story follows Philip Sheldon, a beat reporter for The Daily Bugle who also appears in Busiek’s wonders, as he investigates and delves deeper into the horrific tragedies surrounding all so-called “wonders.” In Sheldon’s universe, whenever a hero or villain has lived their “origin story”, instead of gaining incredible powers, saving people or joining teams, the characters end up dying. horribly, hurting others or becoming real terrorists.
There really is no end to the horrors explored by Sheldon throughout the two-issue series of Ruins. Some of the most disturbing stories show Peter Parker being irradiated and slowly dying from his spider bite, but not before he has infected and killed scores of Daily Bugle staff, Jeanne-Marie and Jean-Paul on the streets homeless and elbow Siamese, and the Silver Surfer literally opening his own chest cavity to “experience the breath”. However, one of the most gruesome stories involves an uncontrollable Magneto, who has clearly done his best to subdue his magnetism but is fighting a losing battle.
The Master of Magnetism has used his vast magnetic powers to achieve incredibly unlikely feats, showing that the upper limits of his power have yet to be recorded. In Ruins, However, it seems that Erik Lehnsherr has much less control over his abilities and has spent his life trying to keep them a secret. Phillip Sheldon arrives at an airport on his travels and immediately notices Magneto, in a trench coat with what looks like a bomb on his chest. As the “bomb” begins to be overcharged, a massive explosion occurs, and it quickly becomes clear that this machine was not in fact a bomb, but a device that kept its powers at bay. Erik dies excruciatingly, all the iron in his blood being literally torn from him by his own powers.
In the Marvel Prime Universe, Magneto is currently one of the main leaders of the new mutant nation of Krakoa, alongside Professor X as the head of the Silent Council. Magneto has always used his powers to aid in the plight of his mutant companions, so it’s especially brutal to see Erik die so alone and scared in Ruinsbecause he is usually such a pillar of strength and leadership in the face of adversity. Make sure to check out the classic Tales of Wonders: Ruins to see what other horrific stories Warren Ellis has made up.
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