Marvel Matchup- Jean Grey vs. Magneto

Jean Grey and Magneto are two of the most powerful mutants to have ever lived. A battle between them would be an event of epic proportion rivaled only by the gods themselves. A single X-gene goes a long way for these two. They have been on opposing sides before, and they’ll likely be on opposing sides again.

This might be one of the most difficult debates we’ve tackled yet. Many debates have pitted the Phoenix Force against Magneto, and some have even tried to assess the winner of a fight between Jean Grey and Magneto. And yet, none of them seem to explore the full implications of their battle.

This fight is complicated by the current political climate and emotional tensions of the X-Men at this time. And while these two have fought each other before, things are different now. The nation of Krakoa binds them. Moira McTaggert’s mysterious plan binds them.

So first, let’s examine each character independently. Then, let’s discuss the rules and unique circumstances of the modern X-Men, and why their fight might be more about political than physical powers. And finally, we make the call on who would ultimately win in a duel between Jean Grey and Magneto.

Jean Grey


Jean Grey’s powers first manifested when her best friend got hit by a car. She connected with her friend telepathically and felt the existential dread of death. She became deeply depressed, and in her emotional anguish, she was unable to control her powers, which were growing in strength greater than anyone could have expected.

Professor X sought her out and welcomed her to his school with open arms. He taught her how to use her powers and control them. Both she and Professor X have similar powers, but Jean Grey’s abilities expand far beyond what Charles Xavier could ever accomplish.


Jean Grey is an Omega Level mutant. As Jonathan Hickman explained when sharing the new list of Omega Level mutants, primary and secondary mutations may both be powerful, but the Omega Level only refers to the primary mutation. Jean Grey’s Omega Level Primary Mutation is her ability to use Telepathy. Her telepathic powers allow her to communicate with others, create empathetic links, and manipulate the brain in nearly any way she sees fit, from illusions, to barriers that block people from the ability to use their own powers. She is also possesses incredibly powerful telekinesis.

It should be noted here that Jean Grey is the perfect host for the Phoenix Force. As a cosmic entity, the Phoenix Force outclasses and overpowers every other superhero. However, these are not Jean Grey’s powers. She is simply a conduit for an inexplicably powerful force that can assume form and any power imaginable.


As an empath, she is typically deeply linked to the sense of emotion and pain that surrounds her. As she reaches deeper within herself to access greater reserves of power, her mind does the opposite and reaches out further and digs deeper in the minds of her enemies.

Ultimately, Jean Grey in most circumstances is nonlethal. She will always try and deescalate a situation before it becomes deadly. And though she has a deadly power, unless she is controlled by the Phoenix Force (which doesn’t appear to be the case in the current X-Men comics), she will not use it.



Max Eisenhardt was born and raised to a Jewish family in Germany before World War II.  His entire family was killed in the concentration camps, and he was manipulated and abused and used for his powers. While he worked with Charles Xavier for a long time to try and bring mutants together, eventually their ideologies no longer meshed.

Magneto understood that humans would always fear what they couldn’t understand, and they simply couldn’t comprehend that mutants were the next evolution of mankind. Fear begets violence, and Magneto would never be weak again. He wouldn’t let his family die twice.


Magneto has Omega Level control over all magnetism. This is most commonly understood as the ability to manipulate metal, but this is a massive understatement of his powers. Magneto has the ability to manipulate all metals and the entirety of the electromagnetic spectrum on a molecular and global scale. He can affect the iron in the bloodstream of other living creatures, and can even alter the magnetic pull of objects and materials.

In one comic, Magneto sensed Kitty Pryde’s unique iron lightyears away. She was in a a world-shattering metal bullet hurdling through space. He locked onto her and the bullet she was inside, and pulled the bullet back — again — from lightyears away.

All throughout this, he maintained a perfect meditation and was able to keep even Emma Frost from using her telepathy on him. He doesn’t actually need his helmet to resist telepathic attacks, as he has developed the ability to keep all telepaths out of his mind. The helmet simply requires less effort.


Magneto will do anything to protect mutantkind. He will do anything to protect himself. He is not intense, but he is severe. He will die for any cause he believes in without a moment’s thought.

On rare and emotional occasions, he acts too fast. However, in most circumstances, he calculated and collected in his every action. He is a genius strategist and fighter.

The Politics

Both Jean Grey and Magneto are Omega level mutants. Their minds have certainly been backed up by Professor X. They could be and assuredly would be revived by the Five on Krakoa, the heroes who have made functional immortality a reality for all the citizens of the new mutant nation. So it’s difficult to say who would win, since neither of them have the ability to permanently kill the other. Which leads us to Rule Number One.

Rule 1: It’s a Fight To WIN, NOT to Death.

Their combat is much longer term. The stakes are much higher. Death can be avoided. Victory must be claimed in more lasting ways.

Rule 2: Jean Grey is NOT the Phoenix Force.

Over the years there have been many versions of Jean Grey. Even Madelyne Pryor was once a body double for Jean Grey. However, it’s unfair to compare Jean Grey’s power in any form to her true power as a host for the Phoenix Force. The Phoenix Force is a cosmic entity with incomparable power. So while Jean Grey has assumed the persona of Dark Phoenix and the White Phoenix, this fight would not include the Phoenix Force at all.

Rule 3: Alliances ARE NOT in play, but ROLES are.

The Quiet Council on Krakoa has grouped Magneto with Professor X and Apocalypse. Jean Grey has been grouped with the Summers. However, in this fight, no one will come to their side.

However, it is important to recognize their role within mutant society. Magneto holds the keys to the deepest secret of mutant society: Moira McTaggert and her true plan. Jean Grey, however, is the only person besides Professor X than can use Cerebro to bring back dead mutants.

The Fight

Jean Grey wins.

Magneto is more experienced, more skilled, more trained, more hardened, and more effective against his opponent than Jean Grey (without the Phoenix Force) could ever be. And thus, he could kill her. Undoubtedly, Magneto could overpower Jean Grey without the Phoenix Force.

Jean Grey’s telepathic abilities are completely null and void against Magneto, but he would not be unaware of her attempts to reach out. Magneto is clever, and while he wouldn’t let her into his mind, he would likely offer her waves of intense emotion and deep darkness in order to overwhelm her empathy.

There might be a dramatic moment where his magnetokinesis and her telekinesis clash. Magneto could attempt to stop Jean Grey’s bloodflow, but Jean Grey could easily do the same by impacting Magneto’s brain chemistry. Ultimately, Magneto fights with more severe tactics. His experience will kill her first.

At her death, her powers will likely spike dramatically. This may even deal a killing blow on Magneto. Soon enough, Jean Grey will come back. And if this is a fight to win? She might not fight him at all. She could simply erase his backup from Cerebro, violating one of the cardinal laws of Krakoa if necessary. He may win the first round. Maybe the second or the third. But he would never come back if his backup were erased.

Magneto will only fight harder. Magneto will only plan larger. But eventually, his fear and emotions will get the best of him, because as much as he feels he differs from humans who act on fear, he does the exact same thing. He will act without thinking. He will misstep. And while Jean Grey is needed to bring back mutant life, Magneto could be completely erased.

Ultimately, though, both of these Omega Level mutants have proven time and again they are willing to die for what they believe in. If the future of mutantkind is at stake, they both know how to make the sacrifice play if it comes down to it.

Some fights are much more about the mind games. See what we did there? Oh dear… Who do YOU think would win in this fight? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!

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