IGN.com recently created a list of the top 100 villains in comic book history. Now seeing as I have no desire to list all 100 for you, I will list the top ten villains.
10. The Kingpin
9. The Dark Phoenix
7. Ra's Al Ghul
4. Lex Luthor
3. Dr. Doom
2. The Joker
Below, is a video of why the IGN editors decided to choose Magneto as the number one pick...
Now, to start off, I have to say that I completely disagree giving Magneto the number 1 spot in thehistory of comic book villainy. I know I'm partial towards DC comics, but I believe most people would agree with me on this, especially for people who know the X-Men and more importantly, for those who know Magneto.
Magneto, yes is a powerful villain and quite ruthless. I would probably rank him in the top ten and maybe even in the top 5 of the best comic book villains. However, the reason why I disagree with the placement is for the mere fact that Magneto, deep down inside is not truly a villain. If you examine the character of magneto, his history, and ask yourselves the question "why does he do what he does?", then you can see the reasoning of why he isn't the number one comic book villain.
Magneto grew up a mutant, and thus followed the discriminatory actions towards him and his kind. This is true for all the X-Men and mutants. What makes Magneto different is his desire to do what is necessary to preserve the mutant race and achieve the type of freedom that he feels mutants deserve and have a right to.
Now, like most things, doing what is necessary is relative. How does one achieve a certain goal? Prof. Charles Xavier believes the best way is for mutants and non-mutants to exist as equals, whereas Magneto would much prefer that the humans be obliterated from existence so mutants can finally be free. Now you're probably asking yourself, "well doesn't this make him pretty darn evil Jimmy?" and I would respond, "no, it doesn't." Just like anything else, evil is also very relative. From a humans point of view, he is the most terrible mutant to exist. From the X-Men's point of view, he is a misguided person who needs help. And from the mutants who desire the same thing as Magneto, he is the mutant's Jesus Christ. But regardless, Magneto's purpose is what qualifies him as a notorious villain or not.
Magneto has one goal, to free mutants from the tyranny of the humans. And justly so, the human's treat mutants as if they are freaks who came in this world by unnatural means and should be forgotten. Thus, when humans meet a mutant on the street, they are met with hostility and savagery. Magneto sought to end this, by any means necessary. (hhhmmm, where have we heard this before?)
Now the question is not what is his goal, rather now the question we must ask is what are his reasons for behaving in such violent ways to achieve Mutant freedom? When you look deep down inside his heart, he's doing all of this for a mass group of living beings. Too often do we mark off people who care for something as being silly or ridiculous and typically laugh or make fun of their ideologies. Look at how certain groups are treated, environmentalist, animal rights groups, etc etc. We treat these groups as the equivalent of a joke, and that ultimately there is no need for these groups because what they fight for is faulty.
However, the fact still remains that Magneto, along with any other group that is belittled for what they believe and fight for, is standing up for the rights of living creatures. Magneto isn't attacking humans because he enjoys it, he's doing it because he feels humans are killing mutants, or running experiments on mutants against their will, or because of the general mistreatment by humans towards mutants. Magneto fights for a group of of living creatures who desire to live life to it's fullest. Magneto fights evil. No matter how you look at it, Magneto is fighting evil. I can understand why Magneto does what he does. I don't agree with his methods, nor do I condone them, but I do understand him.
Now I do consider magneto a villain based on the fact that he has killed thousands of people and feels no remorse for it. But their are reasons for what he does, and even though I do not agree with him, I have a great deal of respect for his ideals of freedom. And I think most people do respect his ideals and convictions. This is one reason why I feel he qualifies as a hero more than a villain. Of course he will always be a villain because he defies the X-Men. But here's a question to ponder, what if the X-Men never started? What if Magneto was the only mutant doing anything to achieve mutant rights? What if all mutants began to follow him and there was no group of mutants opposing him? Would we then qualify him as a villain or a hero?
If anyone deserves to be the top, number 1 villain, I think that title without a doubt have to go to the Joker. Disagree? comment below!