Voiced by Michael Jai White
Created by Project: Cadmus head Amanda Waller and genetics expert Professor Emil Hamilton, the creature who would come to be known as “Doomsday” was the result of the organization’s further attempts to use Kryptonian DNA to produce weapons. However, unlike subjects such as Galatea, who was trained to become a field agent, Doomsday was conceived by his architects as a weapon of last resort—a fail-safe should Superman ever become a viable threat to national security or to the world-at-large. Engineered from a sample of Superman’s genetic material, his DNA was altered by Cadmus scientists to make him superior to the Man of Steel. Their experiments bore fruit—producing a hulking, gray monstrosity with unimaginable levels of physical might. After his creation, he was mentally conditioned (presumably by Cadmus scientists Dr. Hugo Strange and / or Dr. Moon) to hate Superman, using a combination of brainwashing and physical torment. In the end, they created what they intended to, but their creation, with its incredible strength and violent tendencies, proved to be uncontrollable. Thus, it was decided that he needed to be disposed of, and he was loaded onto a rocket and launched into space. However, Doomsday broke free of his restraints and began destroying the ship's onboard systems, throwing the rocket off-course and sending it plummeting back to Earth. Emerging from the wreckage, the creature followed his programming, and traveled to where he knew Superman would most likely be found: Metropolis.
However, this confrontation was not meant to be, as his appearance in Metropolis coincided with the Justice League’s encounter with their other-dimensional counterparts, the Justice Lords, who imprisoned them in their dimension and took their place on the League’s Earth. Emerging from the dimensional portal to find Doomsday destroying the city, the Lords confronted the creature, engaging in a battle that shattered windows and destroyed several more city blocks. However, one by one, the Justice Lords fell before Doomsday’s might, leaving only Superman to face off against the beast. Doomsday came close to achieving his intended goal, but this Superman, thinking fast, used his heat vision to lobotomize his opponent. Rendered brain-dead by this act, Doomsday was taken away by the authorities and, eventually, found his way back into the hands of Cadmus.
Imprisoned in their secret compound, Doomsday
remained dormant for many months; showing no measurable neurological activity,
even after the damaged portions of his frontal lobes healed themselves.
Unsure as to the creature’s mental state, the doctors at Cadmus kept a
wary eye on him, until the day that Dr. Achilles Milo, taking a gamble,
confronted Doomsday directly. Doomsday’s
eyes opened, confirming
Landing on the
Dan Jurgens on Doomsday (circa 1993): "Doomsday came about from us because, as [one] considered Superman's Rogue's Gallery, Superman has not had a lot of good villains. I went to a meeting with all of the other Superman creators once and I didn't have a name for Doomsday yet; I just had a character concept and the character's mindset. I kept calling him a force of nature and all this kind of stuff. I had a sheet of notes with a couple of ideas, once of which was that I was absolutely convinced that we had to do a villain who was going to give Superman a run for his money. We had done so many business-suit villains, so many lame old boring guys. We had to have something that could pound the crap out of Superman—that raised the stakes.
"We talked about it and I kept saying, 'What I want more than anything is to be able to have a double-page spread in the book, and we just see a trail of rubble all the way through Metropolis, and at the end there's Superman and Doomsday fighting.' So that is how Doomsday began. He is primal rage incarnate (courtesy of Superman Homepage)."
Paul Dini on a potential Doomsday appearance on Superman (circa 1998): "No (courtesy of the Unused Batman Villain Database)."
Stan Berkowitz on Doomsday (circa 2005): "As far as I know, there was no plan to use Doomsday in Superman; after all, he was kind of an uninteresting villain, wasn't he? As far as using him in 'A Better World,' it was a good way to show just how much of a badass the Justice Lord Superman was. The fans knew that, in the comics, Doomsday was so tough, he killed the real Superman; but this new Superman is so much tougher, he dispatches the monster with nothing more than a blast of heat vision (courtesy of The World’s Finest)."
Bruce Timm on Doomsday (circa 2005): “We never really had any intention of using Doomsday. He was basically created just to kill Superman in that big stunt [1993’s The Death of Superman story arc]. We kind of kept him one-note [in “A Better World,” but] in the time sense, they had brought him back in the comics and had developed his origin story a little bit more. And we did incorporate that into the show (courtesy of ToyFare Magazine).”
"I know who you are, but I'm not the one who hurt you."
"Superman is Superman, and I will kill you."
"It's who I am; I don't care why."
An exchange between Superman and Doomsday from "The Doomsday Sanction"
The most significant addition to Superman's Rogues Gallery in recent memory (with the possible exception of Magog and Manchester Black), Doomsday is considered by most to be a walking plot device, and rightly so, as he was created solely for the purpose of killing the Last Son of Krypton in 1992's Death of Superman story arc. Conceived by writer / artist Dan Jurgens and making his first appearance in Superman: Man of Steel #17 (November 1992), Doomsday was a literal blank slate—arriving on the scene with no origin, no motivation (beyond destroying everything in his path), and no known ties to either Superman or the DC Universe. He was just there—existing solely to raise hell just for the sake of raising it. In the end he succeeded in carrying out the role Jurgens planned for him—they beat each other to death in front of the steps of the Daily Planet—but, as we all know by now, this was not to be the end of either character, as Superman's death proved to be temporary, and Doomsday's death turned out to be...part of his life cycle.
Brought back for the 1994's Superman / Doomsday: Hunter / Prey miniseries, writer Dan Jurgens took a step back to create an origin for his creation, and used the opportunity to legitimize Doomsday's existence by tying his history together with Superman's. Thus, it was revealed that he was created over 250,000 years ago on a prehistoric Krypton by a an alien scientist named Bertron, who sought to create the ultimate life form by any means necessary. Now, at this time, Krypton possessed a harsh environment and teemed with lethal creatures, which is exactly why the scientist chose it, as he used this hellish landscape to temper his creation's mind and body. A cycle developed: Bertron would clone a newborn infant, and then jettison the baby outside to be torn apart by the creatures and environment. His aides would then go out to retrieve a sample of the infant's DNA, which they would use to grow a stronger model, and so on. This continued on for decades until Doomsday (or, as Bertron called him, the Ultimate) evolved into his present form, at which point he hunted Krypton's prehistoric beasts to extinction, and then broke into the lab, killing everyone within. A supply ship gave Doomsday access to the stars, allowing the monster to attack a multitude of worlds, and an infinite number of people. In the end, however, he managed to be subdued by the people of the planet Calatron, who fought him with a being made of pure energy called the Radiant. After killing the beast, they imprisoned its body and launched it into space; over time his interstellar tomb fell to Earth, its impact burying it deep underground. It was also revealed that Doomsday initially attacked Superman because he sensed that the Man of Steel was Kryptonian and, as a consequence, saw him as a threat (in fact, he sees Bertron when he looks upon Superman). Overall, the series did much to validate Doomsday, as his presence in the DC Universe was given context, and removed the "right place, right time" randomness of The Death of Superman. However, while the series corrected one complication, it perpetuated another, as Jurgen's also revealed that Doomsday cannot die in the conventional sense—not only will he come back to life, but he will also become invulnerable to whatever killed him.
This aspect further cemented Doomsday as a walking plot device, as the creature went from being an alien Hulk to something even more ridiculously powerful, and after several appearances it became quite clear that this overwhelming force was unconquerable to anyone but Superman. This notion that only Superman could beat Doomsday was taken to preposterous degrees, as characters on (or around) the same power level as Superman—such as Darkseid and the Martian Manhunter—were beaten with little to no effort (Doomsday was even able to shrug off Darkseid's Omega Effect as though it were nothing). Perhaps this was the reason why the DCAU creative team decided against using Doomsday on the original Superman animated series. However, years later, they changed their mind, and introduced the character in the two-part Justice League episode "A Better World."
Adapted with only a few minor physical changes (the bony protrusions covering his eyes were removed, presumably to make it easier to animate his expressions), Doomsday was kept simple—emerging from what appeared (at the time) to be an asteroid, he sought combat with mighty opponents, which he found in the Justice Lords—and was, at best, a minor diversion to the main story involving the Justice League and their take-no-prisoners counterparts. Apparently conceived as a throwaway cameo for the story (no doubt because, like the Authority-inspired Justice Lords, Doomsday is a touchstone of comics in the 1990s), he was remembered when the creative team was writing stories for Justice League Unlimited.
Appearing in the aptly-titled "The Doomsday Sanction," the creative team retrofitted Doomsday's origin to fit together with the Cadmus conspiracy arc, creating a new back-story that works much better than the centuries-long, confusing arc from the comics. With a voice electronically pitched deeper than it was in his prior appearance, this Doomsday was a creature with a single burning desire and a wicked sense of humor, much like the portrayal of Bane from the Batman episode "Over the Edge." Speaking of that burning desire, it is worth noting that this episode briefly toys with Doomsday's reactions to his origins and intended purpose, but while he may recognize that his hatred of Superman is artificial, it doesn't mean that he still doesn't want to kill him. It is through this subtle irony that the creative team both honors and pokes fun at the character—by tying Doomsday to Cadmus, the creative team has returned the creature to the purity of motive that Dan Jurgens originally intended for him. Once again, Doomsday's sole purpose is to kill Superman.
Banished to the Phantom Zone at the end of "The Doomsday Sanction" (which, had the comic book Superman thought of doing it, would have saved him the bother of getting killed), it is unlikely that Doomsday will return before the end of Unlimited. It is not impossible, of course, but considering the creative team’s apparent distaste for the character, I kind of doubt we'll be seeing him again.
Images courtesy of Toon Zone and Heroic Images!
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