Superman: “I hear you people are having some trouble.”
Booster Gold: “Trouble isn’t the word, Superman! I’m telling you right now, it’s like Doomsday is here! ” – The Death of Superman
Superman flies to Metropolis and sees the city in ruins. Buildings burn as blood stains the city a hellish red. Mangled bodies litter the streets, some still begging for salvation. Superman sees a crippled soldier screaming into a broken radio begging for a nuke.
A bestial roar sounds from the center of this nightmare. A hulking figure covered in bloody spikes and gray skin emerges from the inferno. Its eyes glow maliciously. Superman knows fear in this moment. Doomsday has come to Metropolis.
Doomsday is the deadliest monster DC Comics has ever created. He was created for one purpose: to kill Superman. He succeeded. So who is Doomsday? Where did he come from? How the hell did he kill Superman? Let’s find out.
Beginning of the End: Doomsday’s Backstory
Lex Luthor: “An ancient Kryptonian deformity; blood of my blood, born to destroy you! Your Doomsday.” – Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Doomsday first appeared in Superman: The Man of Steel #18 in 1992. Superman writers needed a story to replace a planned wedding for Superman and Lois Lane and decided to kill him. Instead of relying on Kryptonite, they decided to create a new character, Doomsday.
Doomsday was the result of a ruthless eugenics experiment. An alien scientist in prehistoric Krypton created a baby in vitro and accelerated the creature’s evolution by sending it outside to cope with the harsh environment. Whenever the creature was killed, the scientist created a clone that was stronger. The creature learned to thrive and grew to hate everything that lives because it saw them as a threat.
The creature, known then as The Ultimate, eventually returned to the scientist. He somehow remembered his prior deaths, killed his creator, and stole a spaceship. The Ultimate rampaged throughout the universe before being killed, restrained, and trapped on a barren planet called Earth.
Little did his killer know that The Ultimate had a healing factor that allowed him to resurrect himself.
The Death of Superman: Doomsday’s History
Superman: “Too late, Lois. The JLA has already fallen and there are too many innocents in jeopardy. It’s up to me.”
Lois: “Clark… I…”
Superman: “Just remember… no matter what happens… I’ll always love you. Always.” – Superman #75
After The Ultimate resurrected himself and freed an arm, he escaped his prison and began a new rampage. The Justice League attacked the newly-named Doomsday, who managed to beat them with one arm literally tied behind his back. The League slowed him down, but were demolished when they accidentally freed his other arm.
Superman and Doomsday fought their way from Kansas to Metropolis, leaving devastation in their wake. Doomsday caused enough death and destruction that even Superman, the world’s biggest Boy Scout, decided that he needed to die. In all fairness, Superman didn’t realize that Doomsday can regenerate. Superman finally managed to kill Doomsday, but died of his wounds moments later. Supes was later revealed to be in a healing coma. I call BS.
Doomsday would revive years later and appear sporadically. He conveniently showed up in different stories to die as a way of showing how powerful a new threat was.
Adaptive Abomination: Doomsday’s Powers and Personality
Superman: “I’m not the one who hurt you!”
Doomsday: “Superman is Superman, and I will kill you.”
Doomsday: “It’s what I am. I don’t care why!” – Justice League: Unlimited “Doomsday Sanction” (Season 4, episode 3)
Doomsday’s primary powers are adaptation and evolution. He has a completely overpowered healing factor that can resurrect him. When he is injured, his body adapts and becomes immune to whatever hurt him. In other words, he is virtually immortal.
Doomsday’s strength is equal to Superman’s and the alien god Darkseid. He is covered in poison-secreting bone spikes. When all of that isn’t enough, he can gain new powers to counter his enemies. He’s breathed fire while fighting the Martian Manhunter (whose weakness is fire), flown and extended his spikes against Superman, and moved fast enough to catch The Flash.
Doomsday views every living thing as a threat because of his countless deaths as a child. He goes even more berserk when he senses Kryptonians, which explains his hatred for Superman. Lex Luthor and Darkseid are more popular, but Doomsday is Superman’s deadliest enemy.
The Actors who play Doomsday
Doomsday’s television debut was in the cartoon Justice League, voiced by Michael Jai White. This version of Doomsday was a psychotic world conqueror instead of a berserk monster. Doomsday was the Big Bad of Smallville season 8 and transformed into a human when he wasn’t rampaging. He was played by character actor Sam Witwer. Doomsday is scheduled to appear in Syfy’s Krypton, but has not yet been cast.
Doomsday made his film debut in the Direct-to-DVD Superman: Doomed. An army of Doomsday clones appeared in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse but were killed by Superman and an Amazonian army.
Robin Atkins Downes played Doomsday in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This version was the result of Lex Luthor playing god by resurrecting General Zod with forbidden Kryptonian technology. Because zombie Kryptonians are always a good idea. Doomsday gets less than ten minutes of screentime in BvS, but the film gleefully uses that time to shove The Death of Superman into an already stuffed movie.
Didya Get All That?
Destruction made flesh.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.