An abomination, a giant ninja turtle? Who is Doomsday, and why should we care about his fight against Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman?
The latest trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave us our first look at the really big, really bad muscle for the film, the monster known as Doomsday. The character/creature has a long history with DC Comics and ties to a few very significant events, namely the death of Superman.
We’ve theorized in the past that Doomsday would make an appearance in the film, possibly with ties to the corpse of General Zod from Man of Steel. However, official confirmation did not come until the recent trailer.
Despite some comments that the character looks a bit like a cross between the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk and a Ninja Turtle, the character does appear relatively faithful to the comic appearance of Doomsday. His origin may change from what we’re used to, but from what we know, it fits perfectly into the universe created with Man of Steel.
Doomsday was originally created as a villain that could match Superman in brute strength. Most villains had previously defeated Superman only through an unfair advantage (like Metallo’s hidden Kryptonite or Parasite’s powers) or by outsmarting him. Batman, for example, famously bested Superman in The Dark Knight Returns through a combination of Kryptonite and his impressive arsenal of Bat-gadgets. But Doomsday could match Superman on a physical level, blow for blow.
Doomsday first appeared in a cameo role in Superman: The Man of Steel #17, and made his full appearance in the following issue. This was the start of the “Death of Superman” storyline, which resulted in exactly what you’d expect, the death of Superman. Doomsday is best known for this event; he was the one who killed the Man of Steel.
The monster has several origins. Originally, he was a prehistoric creature that lived on Krypton long before the Kryptonians became the dominant race. A mad scientist created an infant and set him loose on the planet. Of course, the infant died, but the scientist recovered the body and made a clone that would function better than the original. The cycle repeated itself until Doomsday was all but indestructible through an advanced and cruel experiment of evolution. In the end, he killed the scientist, and fled Krypton. After a series of adventures, Doomsday was eventually buried on Earth, where he remained for thousands of years. He eventually escaped and fought with Superman. Doomsday killed Superman (mostly), but Doomsday was eventually strapped to an asteroid and sent flying in space. He wasn’t dead though.
Doomsday showed up several times after that event. Darkseid even made multiple clones of the creature and sent them against Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in a scene similar to the end of that last trailer.
Doomsday was engineered through accelerated evolution to be the most resilient creature alive. His powers stem from his ability to resist anything:
- Resistance: Superman tried hard to beat Doomsday, but not even the Man of Steel could inflict an injury that could ultimately harm the monster. Even a sound gun, which initially annoyed Doomsday, did not have any lasting damage after Doomsday’s ears closed.
- Super Strength: Doomsday has extreme strength, enough to rival Superman.
- Healing: Even when Doomsday is hurt, he can recover through regeneration. At times, this ability can even bring him back from the dead.
Of course, like any comic-book character, Doomsday has demonstrated other small abilities, like covering his body in metallic armor. But his abilities center around resilience, strength, and healing.
The Doomsday Genome
Now, it appears that in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice the origin of Doomsday will differ. In this case, Lex Luthor probably experiments on the corpse of General Zod, who died in the last film. That experimentation will lead to the mutation of Zod into the Doomsday beast. We don’t know for sure how this will happen, but some have speculated that it will involve the activation of the “Doomsday genome.”
This would imply that Doomsday is more than just a single individual that lay buried underground for many years, but that his essence was somehow part of Kryptonian DNA. Since Doomsday was developed on Krypton in an experiment that involved evolution, it’s not too far fetched to assume that pieces of Doomsday’s genetic makeup made its way into the Kryptonian people. When Lex Luthor activates that genome, Doomsday emerges.
Superman has has a similar experience before. In one comic story, he disintegrates Doomsday and inhales his remains to contain them. But the victory backfires as the pieces of Doomsday begin to mutate Superman from the inside. Perhaps something similar happens in Batman v Superman with Zod, but on a more genetic, evolutionary level.
Why it Matters
I think we can safely assume that this version of Doomsday, is not the Doomsday, the one who was buried deep within the Earth. Other versions of Doomsday have repeatedly appeared in the comics, none of them as powerful as the original.
But the trailer also hints that Doomsday has additional powers not seen in the comics, powers like heat vision that appear linked to the original host, Zod.
But the big question surrounding the monster is, will he again kill Superman? Well, the short answer is…no. Not even the comic-book version could kill Superman, but the monster was able to get rid of him for a long time. So will we see Superman go away at the end of the film? Perhaps. In fact, this may explain why Suicide Squad is the next film in DC’s roster; they could represent the villains running wild after Superman’s disappearance. But I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see Superman again in Justice League: Part 1.
And yet, I think Batman v Superman is trying hard to dispel a commonly held myth that Superman is indestructible. They are trying to make the Man of Steel more relatable. Of all the characters who ever defeated Superman, the two most well-known successes came from Batman and Doomsday. The fact that they both appear in this film indicates that the creators want audiences to know that Superman is vulnerable. He can be defeated.