Ah, 1994. The year that brought us Tom Hanks as “Forrest Gump”, “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men, and who can forget maybe the most important invention of the era, the George Foreman Grill? Yes. Though these things were and still are important to many people to this very day, my focus was drawn at the time to DC Comics and a three part miniseries entitled: “Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey”! What could possibly be so important about this limited comic series that I would ignore the fantastic things listed above? Well, sit back and continue reading. All will make itself clear…..
Our story begins many years ago, as a very young Clark Kent stands at the shadowed entrance to his adoptive parents’ cellar, too terrified to move. He’s positive that a monster lurks there in the darkness, intent on doing him harm. His mother asked for him to fetch something for her and, as Clark is an obedient child, he slowly descends the stairs to retrieve the item. He nearly reaches the bottom before his fear gets the best of him. He runs back upstairs, into the loving embrace of his understanding mother. (Wussy. Although, I was in my mid-twenties before I went down into my basement alone. Hey, there were bats down there! Geez!) After he’s more calm, he decides that he will try this feat again. He will not be defeated by the fear of the unknown. Clark once again walks down the dark stairs. He reaches the floor and flicks the switch to the overhead light. Nothing. That’s when he hears it. The monster! Slowly, he turns. Doomsday roars into the face of a petrified Clark Kent, now a grown man and dressed in his Superman garb!
The scene then shifts. Superman is in the center of his beloved Metropolis. The creature, known only as Doomsday, strikes the hero again and again with boney, barbed fists! Blood drips from several of the Man of Steel’s open wounds! As the beating continues, he feels something he hasn’t felt since that long ago night in his parents’ cellar, terror. Terror because he remembers all to well how this fight ended. With his death. As Doomsday strikes one final time, Clark is that young and frightened child once again. One final time. And then Superman wakes up, gasping for air and covered in a cold sweat. (You think Superman has ever wet the bed? I keep picturing the force from a fire hose. What’s that? Oh yeah. The story.) Leaving his bed, he walks to his window and looks out over his city. He’s had this nightmare many times since his resurrection. He’s sick of it. The last thing he remembers being told is that the Cyborg Superman had shackled Doomsday’s corpse to an asteroid and thrust it into the cold void of space. It’s time he investigated this matter further. Time to stop these nightmares once and for all.
Meanwhile, in the vastness of space, a starship picks up strange readings emanating from a passing asteroid. Sensing that their might be money to be made, the captain orders it brought aboard. The crew complies. But when they reach the docking bay, they immediately wish they hadn’t. The creature, Doomsday, is held fast to it by metal coils! Even though the beast appears to be deceased, the captain and crew recognize it right away! Quickly, they attempt to release it back into space. That’s when Doomsday opens his eyes! Now panicking, one of the space pirates pulls a blaster and fires, attempting to knock the asteroid through the now open airlock! Unfortunately, he misfires, hitting a cable that holds the monster’s arm! (Talk about bad aim! I’ve seen stormtroopers hit their targets with more skill! Okay. So I’m a “Star Wars” nerd too. Sue me!) That’s all Doomsday needs! He rips the rest of the restraints from his body and attacks! The men spend the last moments of their lives screaming.
While Superman is telling an understandably distraught Lois Lane of his intentions to find the monster that once took his life, the space pirates’ spacecraft has broken through the polluted atmosphere of the dreaded planet Apokolips, home to perhaps the most evil and powerful of monarchs in the known universe, Darkseid! (I skipped over part about Lois without mention of her skimpy jammies. I do have some class. Not much, but some.) Scanners on the planet pick up no lifeforms aboard, so the craft is brought down automatically. A small group of soldiers enter to investigate as others stand guard outside. There’s silence for a moment until one of the soldier’s severed heads sails back out through the open door! Doomsday then emerges with uncanny speed and ferocity! The warriors of Apokolips never stood a chance! The creature rips their bodies to shreds and then leaps onward to create more mindless destruction!
Meanwhile, the carnage upon the planet Apokolips has not gone unnoticed. Darkseid himself is paying close attention. And though his posture and mannerisms are calm and collected as always, Darkseid seems off somehow. He remarks to his chief torturer, Desaad, that if the creature is not stopped by his elite warriors, a planetwide evacuation is their next course of action. (You ever notice how Darkseid always stands with his hands behind his back? What’s he doing anyway, working on fixing a wedgie?)
Elsewhere on the planet, while Doomsday tears his way through Darkseid’s elite guard like paper dolls, an easily-missed microchip suddenly becomes active on the beast’s person! An energy form then exits the device and enters a mangled soldier’s armor. The armor shifts and changes. It reconfigures itself until, a newly-rebuilt Cyborg Superman hovers in its place! The nightmare is reborn! Wasting little time, the Cyborg joins Doomsday in destroying what little remains of this sector of Apokolips! (It’s on now, Unspokenites! I’m getting goosebumps while I type! That, or I’ve suddenly come down with hives. Either way, this is thrilling!)
Back on Earth, the Man of Steel decends from the skies and touches down near an ordinary-looking house. He’s in search of the the leader of a team of time-travelers called the Linear Men. His name is Matt Ryder. In the past, this mysterious group has always found him. Never the other way around. Superman knows that this is Ryder’s childhood home. If he’s to locate the man’s future self, this is his only hope. Before he can even knock, the grown version of Matt Ryder appears with a powerful being the Last Kryptonian has met before in the past, Waverider. To say that this meeting is in vain would be an understatement. Superman pleads for any information the two can give him about Doomsday, but the reply is that the timestream must be protected and to do this, they must not intervene. Superman leaves this meeting discouraged, but he’s not defeated yet. (If I was Supes, it’d be hard not to use my powers to interrogate Ryder “Punisher-style”. I left a bit out here, but trust me, the dude’s a real jerk. I guess that’s why he’s the fictional superhero, and I’m just your average supermodel/famous writer. Hey! I can dream!)
On Apokolips,the mighty Darkseid walks amongst his panicked people. He has decided that he’s tolerated this attack long enough. He approaches the monster and fires his destructive Omega Beams from his eyes! The blast takes Doomsday unaware, hitting him full force in the back and burying the creature beneath tons of rubble! Satisfied with his grim work, Darkseid turns to leave. That’s when a bone-spiked fist bursts through the wreckage! Before Darkseid can fully turn, Doomsday rakes these barbed, powerful fists down the dark god’s spine! Blood sprays from the wounds! The beast then continues its assault until Darkseid drops, defeated! Meanwhile, this has all been projected on a monitor screen and Desaad has witnessed what he, until now, thought was impossible! He then decides that there is one last hope to save his homeworld. He must find help elsewhere. (I must now quote the movie, “Friday”, “Daaaaaamn!” That is all.)
On Earth, Superman has now called for a meeting with the Justice League. The warrior woman, Maxima, has answered on the team’s behalf. This conversation is interrupted however as Desaad’s call for help comes into focus on the League’s monitoring system. He manages to at least report that Doomsday is on the planet Apokolips and, now that Darkseid has been defeated by the creature, assistance is needed immediately! Superman watches this in horror. He then requests assistance to reach Apokolips quickly. (Maxima actually gets on Superman’s case here about denying an invitation for League membership in the past! Talk about rude! I mean, who turns down an invite to join DC’s most prestigious super-group? The nerve!)
As the Last Son of Krypton tries to locate a fast form of space travel, Doomsday drags the limp form of Darkseid as the Cyborg Superman follows, goading the creature on as he thinks out loud. He will use this beast to conquer this disgusting planet for him! He’ll be unstoppable! The two villains then begin their assault on Darkseid’s own palace. Just then, Superman exits through a loud, teleportation tunnel that the gods call a Boom Tube. This miracle of travel is created by a sentient computer that is presently attached to Superman’s arm. A Mother Box. As soon as he appears on Apokolips the hero is well aware of the devastation that has already been wrought! He soars through the air in search of any sign that will point him in the right direction. That’s when he spies him, the Cyborg Superman himself! (It’s about to hit the fan here, folks! These two hate each other more than Batman hates to be seen disappearing!)
The two clash with the might of titans! But before this battle can continue for very long, the Cyborg reveals his partner in crime via a holographic image! Superman is speechless as he stares back at the monster, known to all as Doomsday! He stares into those dark, rage filled eyes, and instantly relives the epic fight that claimed his life not so very long ago! The Cyborg uses this opportunity to his villainous advantage and blasts Superman in the back with an energy weapon concealed within his robotic arm! The hero tries to get back to his feet. He must stop Doomsday once and for all this time. (Awesome, huh? Not the scene. I mean my writing talent.)
Before the Man of Steel can stop him, Desaad lunges past both Superman and his cybernetic doppelganger! He opens a Boom Tube all his own and it begins to pull Doomsday in like a black hole! Superman roars in outrage! He won’t have this monstrosity let loose upon another unsuspecting world! He flies faster than he has ever done before, but it’s too late! The creature looks at Superman with deadly recognition in it’s eyes! And then, just like that, Doomsday is gone! Superman collapses to his knees in defeat.
To be continued….
This article is dedicated to my mom, Pam Bowen-Metz. With all of the things that she has had to deal with in her life, you’d swear she was related to Superman himself. I know she’s my hero. (And she isn’t even Kryptonian.) I love you, Mom. Always.