By Michael Moreno
Superman has a huge history of rouges. Villains such as Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Metallo, and Darkseid. But there is one villain whose name is associated with killing Superman. A villain whose very name means the end of life… Doomsday.
Created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern, Doomsday was written for the sole purpose of killing the Man of Steel. His first appearance was in November 1992’s “Superman: The Man of Steel #17,” but Doomsday made his first full appearance in December 1992’s “Superman: The Man of Steel #18”. When Doomsday first appeared, he was shown punching his way out of a metal cell deep underground and had escaped with one goal on his mind… destroy anything and anyone that gets in his way.
Wearing a green containment suit covering his entire body with metal restraints, Doomsday traveled the countryside, making his way to Metropolis, killing anything or anyone in his path. The Justice League tried to take down the beast, but most of them were left with critical injuries and would have died if not for the help of Superman. As the battle waged on, Doomsday’s suit peeled off revealing his true form. A grey skinned, massive muscular creature with white hair and razor sharp bones protruding from his arms, hands, legs, chest, shoulders, and face. Superman managed to drag the monster away from the injured Justice League, but things went from bad to worse when their fight ended up in Metropolis, endangering its citizens. As Superman struggled to take down Doomsday, he realized that he had to give all that he has to take down the monster, even at the cost of his own life. The battle ended with Superman sacrificing himself to stop Doomsday.
After Superman’s resurrection, the Man of Steel had a rematch with Doomsday in the comic story arc “Hunter/Prey”. Doomsday’s body ended up on the planet Apokolips after his body was attached to a huge rock, tied with cables by the Cyborg Superman imposter, and thrown into deep space. (Apokolips is the home planet of the evil alien dictator Darkseid.) Doomsday revived his own dead body and started to wreak havoc on the world, leading to a confrontation between Darkseid and Doomsday. Darkseid tried using his omega beams to slay the beast, but was beaten down by Doomsday’s strength. Barely surviving his encounter with Doomsday, Darkseid sought out Superman’s help. Superman learned the truth about what Doomsday is and where he came from with the help of time traveling superhero Waverider.
Doomsday was created on ancient Krypton by a scientist known as Bertron through forced evolution. Bertron would grow Doomsday in a vat and send him into Krypton’s harsh predatory environment where he would be killed by Krypton’s predators, but then he would be cloned, only to be sent out again. This process of forced evolution would be done over and over again for many decades on Doomsday until he no longer needed to be cloned. Doomsday was able to withstand and defeat any Kryptonian predator. Doomsday returned from his hunt and killed Bertron. Eventually Doomsday was captured and was restrained and put into a green containment suit, strapped in metallic cables and sent on a ship that crashed deep in the Earth, where he stayed dormant for many generations. After Superman learned of Doomsday’s origin, he eventually found Doomsday and fought him again. As the fight went on, Superman managed to use a time device that he had received from Waverider to bring the monster to the end of time, in hopes of finally ending the creature. Superman escaped, but left Doomsday to meet his end.
Later, Doomsday would escape his fate with the help of Brainiac in “The Doomsday Wars” story. Brainiac, needing to place his consciousness inside a new body, chose Doomsday as a temporary vessel while also having kidnapped Lana Lang and Pete Ross’ newborn son in hopes of using the child as a permanent vessel. In a long and difficult battle, Superman managed to separate Brainiac from Doomsday’s body and save the newborn from Brainiac’s diabolical plan. With the help of the Justice League, Superman was able to capture Doomsday and trap him inside multiple teleportation tubes where he would constantly be teleporting, unable to break free from his prison. However eventually Doomsday would escape and return to cause Superman more problems in later stories.
In the “Reign of Doomsday” comic series, Doomsday would return, but there was an introduction of multiple versions of Doomsday to combat not only Superman, but also Superboy, Steel, Eradicator, and the Cyborg Superman. Each version of Doomsday mimicked the powers and abilities of each member of Superman’s team. As Superman and his team tried to find a way to stop the new Doomsdays, a new Doomsday variant was introduced. The Doomslayer. The Doomslayer’s mission was to hunt down and terminate Doomsday and end the world, believing that Earth was linked to the beast. The Doomsday clones were stopped, thanks to the heroes of Earth while Superman, with the help of the Eradicator (who had taken possession of Doomsday’s body after Doomslayer killed him), managed to stop Doomslayer. The Eradicator, sacrificing himself, saved Superman from Doomslayer and trapped himself in a pit with the creature.
The New 52 reboot of the DC Comics universe gave a different take on the monster from Krypton. This version of Doomsday had fought General Zod on Krypton, was defeated and sent into the Phantom Zone. Eventually he escaped, causing havoc on Earth with a new ability to cause decay wherever he went. This version not only looked more menacing with his razor spikes, but after his battle with Superman on the planet Venus in which he died, his incinerated ashes infected Superman and turned the Man of Steel into a monstrous Doomsday hybrid. Superman struggled with the monster within him as Brainiac appeared and attacked in his ship. Struggling to remain in control, Superman managed to use his powers and the Doomsday power within him to drag Brainiac’s ship into a black hole, where he purged Doomsday’s influence within him and ultimately escaped.
DC rebooted its universe again with its Rebirth series, which brought its own version of Doomsday. In the start of this new universe, Superman and his arch nemesis Lex Luthor (who briefly wore a powered super suit and called himself Superman) teamed up with Superman to battle Doomsday.
In animation, Doomsday has been featured in both animated films and animated TV series. In the “Justice League” animated series, Doomsday first appeared in Part One of the two part episode “A Better World”. Doomsday fought the alternate version of the Justice League, known as the Justice Lords, and he was lobotomized by the Justice Lords’ Superman. Doomsday later made his return in the “Justice League Unlimited” episode, “The Doomsday Sanction”. In this episode, it was revealed that Doomsday is a mutated clone of Superman who was conditioned to kill Superman. Doomsday eventually finds the real Superman on a volcanic island which was about to erupt. Superman tries to tell Doomsday that he wasn’t the one who lobotomized him, but Doomsday answers that he doesn’t care, and that “Superman is still Superman” and continues to attack him. Ultimately, Superman managed to knock Doomsday into the erupting volcano and then recovered him with the help of the Justice League. Doomsday, having been encased inside hardened volcanic rock, was then sent to the Phantom Zone by Superman, who used his Phantom Zone projector on Doomsday.
Doomsday made a brief appearance in the animated series “Legion of Superheroes” in the episode titled “Phantoms”. In that episode, the Legionnaires were briefly trapped in the Phantom Zone by the supervillain known as Drax. Inside the Phantom Zone, Doomsday along with other Phantom Zone prisoners were briefly shown trying to break into the Legionnaires’ force field before they eventually escaped.
The animated film “Superman/Doomsday” was the first adaptation of the Death of Superman comic. It featured Doomsday as an unstoppable machine/creature that came out of an ancient alien space craft at a Lexcorp dig site. Doomsday wreaked death and destruction across the countryside before eventually making his way to Metropolis. A long showdown between the monster and Superman ended with not only Doomsday’s death, but with the Man of Steel’s death as well. Missing from this movie, but included in the comic for this adaptation, was Doomsday’s fight with the Justice League and Doomsday’s green containment suit with metal constraints.
The animated film “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse,” which was based on a comic book story arc (“The Supergirl from Krypton”) featured Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman defending the hidden island Themyscira from an army of cloned Doomsdays created by Darkseid as a distraction. Darkseid’s real goal was to kidnap Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl. Ultimately, the Doomsday army was vaporized by Superman’s massive heat vision blast.
“The Death of Superman” animated film was more faithful to the comic book story on which it was based than the previous film. In this version, Doomsday had his green containment suit and he fought the Justice League. However, while the Justice League International members who appeared and fought Doomsday in the comics were Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Maxima, Fire, Ice, and Bloodwynd, the Justice League members who fought Doomsday in the second animated adaption were Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Batman. In this version, just as the Justice League struggled and were being beaten while trying to take the beast down, Superman arrived. Wonder Woman then told Superman not to hold back, which lead to a long fight between Superman and Doomsday, causing massive damage throughout Metropolis. As in the comic and in the previous film, Superman sacrificed himself as he killed Doomsday but saved Lois Lane and the rest of Metropolis from certain doom.
In the animated movie “Injustice,” which was based on the video game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” and comic series, Superman was exposed to a Kryptonite-laced fear toxin by the Joker. This caused the Man of Steel to hallucinate and see Doomsday, unaware that the beast he would attack and kill was in reality his pregnant wife Lois Lane.
The 2016 film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” took a different approach to the Doomsday character. Rather than originating on ancient Krypton, Doomsday was instead created by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Like Dr. Frankenstein creating his monster, Lex Luthor used the dead body of General Zod in his experiment to create the monster he called “Doomsday”. This version of the Doomsday character also differed in form from previous iterations. Instead of having massive spikes and bone-like structures covering his limbs and face, Doomsday’s appearance shared similarities with trolls from Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films. Hairless and somewhat slimy (most likely the slime quality came from his resurrection cocoon that Lex put him in), Doomsday’s size looked to be bigger than that of his comic book counterparts. While Doomsday in the comics was big, Doomsday in “Batman v Superman” appeared to be at least three times larger. Also, Doomsday would grow some spikes in the course of his battle with Superman (played by Henry Cavill), Batman (played Ben Affleck), and Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), but not in same amount as in the comic version. Wonder Woman would cut off one of Doomsday’s hands, only to have it grow a bone spike in its place. In the end, Superman plunged a Kryptonite spear in to Doomsday’s chest, killing the beast, but the Man of Steel died in the process by being impaled by Doomsday’s bone spike.
In Season 8 of the series “Smallville,” the character Davis Bloom (played by Sam Witwer) was introduced, but later revealed to be the monster Doomsday. Doomsday, at first, stalked and killed its prey in the shadows, not giving a hint of its appearance until the mid-season finale titled “Bride”. In this episode, Doomsday was shown as a shadowy silhouette during an attack at the wedding of Chloe Sullivan (played by Allison Mack) and Jimmy Olsen (played by Aaron Ashmore). Doomsday, having kidnapped Chloe, took her to the Fortress of Solitude, where screen shots revealed additional glimpses of the creature. During the course of the season, Lois Lane (played by Erica Durance), who at the time was possessed by General Zod’s wife Faora, revealed that Bloom/Doomsday was the son of General Zod and Faora through genetic manipulation (since they could not naturally conceive a child). In appearance, the monster Doomsday (played by Dario Delacio) closely resembled the character from his comic book origins. In “Smallville,” he would ultimately reveal his full appearance in the Season 8 finale titled “Doomsday,” when he is finally split into two separate beings after being exposed to black Kryptonite. After a brief fight with Clark Kent (played by Tom Welling), Doomsday was trapped in a mine, unable to get out, while Davis Bloom died while killing Jimmy Olsen in an altercation. In the “Smallville” Season 11 comic series, which is a spinoff of its namesake, Doomsday appeared again in the distant future where he and Superman had their final confrontation. Superman was the victor of this rematch by throwing Doomsday into the sun.
Doomsday in the Syfy channel series “Krypton,” was created by scientists from the two Kryptonian houses of Zod and El using genetic manipulation of the “Vera” gene from the Kryptonian solider Dax-Baron (played by actor Staz Nair). Unable to control Doomsday, the scientist managed to keep him sedated inside a containment vault. Generations later, Doomsday escaped but was found and tamed by Dru-Zod (played by Colin Salmon) using a hallucinogenic plant called the Black Mercy. Zod used Doomsday as a weapon in a war against Kryptonian rebels hiding on Krypton’s moon Wegthor. As Doomsday attacked the rebels, a set of explosives was set to blow up the moon. The surviving rebels from Doomsday’s attack managed to flee from the moon before the detonation of the explosives. Kem (played by Rasmus Hardiker), a friend of Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (played by Cameron Cuffe), sacrificed himself detonating the explosives in order to stop and kill Doomsday. Doomsday’s body was last seen on Krypton encased in the substance “Stallarium”.
At the end of the first episode of season two of The CW series “Superman & Lois,” a creature (we were lead to believe was Doomsday) is first shown trying to punch and dig his way out of Smallville’s mine. In the second episode, he is briefly seen attacking the miners wearing a containment suit. One of the miners manages to detonate an explosive charge temporarily stopping him. The creature escapes by the end of the third episode, fighting Superman (played by Tyler Hoechlin). John Henry Irons (played by Wolé Parks) tries to help Superman by shooting a few of his red solar blasts at the creature’s face plate, revealing his face. The creature then knocks John Henry down and continues to attack Superman. Superman takes a look at the creature’s face, only it’s not Doomsday as we were all lead to believe… his face is almost identical to Superman’s, with the exception of glowing blue eyes and cracked white skin. The creature stops his attack on the Man of Steel when he starts to show signs of a seizure, a seizure that effects Superman as well. The monster then leaps and flies away to the remains of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, where he peels off the rest of his containment suit, revealing a supersuit similar to Superman’s. However, his cape is drastically torn, and he is wearing a gem necklace with the house of El insignia (but in reverse) on his chest. This indicates that the creature is not Doomsday, but rather Superman’s twisted doppelgänger Bizarro (played by Tyler Hoechlin).
Lastly, I would like to mention a Doomsday-like character that actually predates Doomsday. In the seventh episode of the Ruby Spears “Superman” animated series, the creature known as “The Hunter” made its debut on October 29, 1988, predating Doomsday’s November 1992 introduction. While The Hunter’s appearance differs from Doomsday’s boney spiked form, there are similarities between Doomsday’s green containment suit versus The Hunter’s. The Hunter’s skin is completely green with big round red eyes, similar to Doomsday’s green containment suit that had red round visor lenses. The Hunter was a creature created by General Zod, Ursa, and Faora and was released from the Phantom Zone to hunt down and destroy Superman. Much like Doomsday, The Hunter could adapt to his environment to be used as a weapon against Superman. For example water, steel, diamond, electricity, or even Kryptonite could all be used. The Hunter seemingly killed Superman after it became “walking Kryptonite”, having absorbed the characteristic from a Kryptonite rock belonging to Lex Luthor. Predicting that The Hunter would turn into a Kryptonite being, Superman asked Lois to use a device to revive him after he used an anti-Kryptonite device on himself to help fake his death, ultimately foiling The Hunter’s Kryptonite attack. When The Hunter then uses a Phantom Zone projector to try and release Zod, Ursa, and Faora, he is interrupted by Superman. Superman manages to knock the projector from The Hunter’s hands, preventing Ursa and Faora from exiting the Phantom Zone, but Zod escapes. Superman grabs the projector and flies off. However, The Hunter turns himself into electricity and attacks Superman, only to fail in his attack when the electrical blast is reflected back by a dish antenna destroying The Hunter. Superman then uses the projector to send General Zod back into the Phantom Zone.
Which brings us to where we are today. The monstrous beast known as Doomsday remains one of Superman’s greatest, most horrific, and deadliest of foes. And it’s only a matter of time before he returns to challenge and attack Superman once again. “Doomsday is coming” but when? Only time will tell.