I’m back! Yes, my time is now more my own, so I have returned with the last installment of my look back at DC’s “Superman: Hunter/Prey” slug-fest extravaganza! I come to you now, not as a busy father, but as a man with a migraine and stomachache that could topple the gods of Olympus. (Okay. So maybe I’m exaggerating my condition a tad. All I know, dear fans, is that I feel crappy and thus I must whine.) Anyway, enough talk of my seemingly-fatal condition. On with the finale….
As Superman stands upon a crumbling mountaintop, on the planet Apokolips, he clenches his fists at his sides and vows that this is the end. This time, Doomsday will fall. (Is he posing and flexing at a time like this? I guess if you’ve got it, flaunt it.) Darkseid then interrupts by commenting that if the Kryptonian truly means to follow and confront the beast, he will once again face death. Though Waverider hates to admit it, he fears the Dark Lord of Apokolips may be right. As Darkseid and his minion, Desaad, turn to leave, Darkseid picks up a button-sized disc from the ground. He whispers to the other that, though Superman believes that the Cyborg Superman is now no more, he had the foresight to contain the madman’s consciousness onto this very device, should he have use of the villain at a later date! (Man, turns out you can’t even trust an evil tyrant nowadays! What happened to this world? Sheesh)
Warnings aside, the Man of Steel prepares to meet the monster head-on. But, before he can even think, the Mother Box strapped to his arm begins to ring out! Superman is then encased in an orb of blinding light! When he emerges, his wounds are healed and he wears a type of armored version of his traditional costume, complete with sophisticated weaponry! It seems the sentient computer has decided to help! Then, from out of nowhere, the Mother Box opens a portal to the place that Doomsday now is! (Wow! Screw buying a smart phone! Sign me up for a Mother Box! I bet it even gets free WiFi and HBO Max! ) Wasting little time, Superman and Waverider fly in, on a path with what will most likely be certain death!
Meanwhile, Doomsday has been doing what he does best on the distant planet of Calaton, mindless death and destruction! However, his rampage has been recently halted. The creature now finds himself locked in combat with the energy being that handed him his first defeat so very long ago, Radiant! The two titans battle back and forth until Radiant finally decides this fight has gone on long enough. He unleashes the full might of his power in one mighty blast! And though this has worked once, Doomsday is always evolving. The beast stands unharmed! Doomsday then swipes at Radiant with such force and ferocity, that the already weakened hero begins to dissipate! The victory goes to Doomsday this time around! (Damn! Things are looking pretty bad. The comic? Oh. I meant my stomach cramps. Yeah. Superman has his work cut out for him it seems.)
Superman and Waverider enter the atmosphere of Calaton via the Mother Box’s teleportation capabilities. Scanning the planet, smoking ruins and mangled corpses litter the landscape. Suddenly, Superman spies Radiant’s fading form. Waverider joins the Man of Steel as he descends. Before Radiant is no more, he whispers that the creature is headed to the power facility that runs the entire planet. As this facility is powered by the planet’s core, its destruction could mean the end of all life on the planet! Radiant then passes away into nothingness. (I’m not crying! It’s my headache! I swear! Made my eyes tear up. That’s all. Ha! They bought it.) Doomsday slams his powerful fists again and again into the thick walls of the power facility! But he’s halted suddenly by the sound of an angry and familiar voice. Turning, the monster stares face-to-face with the Last Son of Krypton!
It’s then that the creature does something Superman doesn’t expect, looking at the hero with recognition in his cold eyes, it speaks! It utters the word, “Metropolis”! Then, turning as if to show that it doesn’t see the Man of Steel as a threat whatsoever, it continues its rampage! (Man! I don’t know about you guys, but I’d be hurt! Thats when you get back in Doomsday’s face and say, “Hey! I’m not just a piece of meat that you can just discard! I’m a person too, damn it, and I deserve some respect! Now, I demand you pay attention to me and beat me to death like everyone else! Yeah.) Regaining his composure, Superman takes full advantage of the beast’s arrogance and lets loose with the full might of his heat vision! Doomsday is only momentarily stunned! He raises a clawed fist and his knuckle spurs lengthen several feet, piercing Superman’s shoulder and releasing a powerful toxin into the wound!
Doomsday used his elongated knuckle spikes then whip Superman to the ground with tremendous force! It’s then that the hero becomes very aware of the poison spreading throughout his body! Wasting no time, the Man of Steel leaps to his feet and pulls a strange handgun from a holster that the Mother Box has gifted him! Pulling the trigger, the weapon unleashes a devastating pulse of sonic waves! The creature seems to be hurt! But alas, only momentarily! Flesh grows over his ear canals, protecting him from harm! Superman then rips the claws out of his shoulder and takes flight to get some distance! Waverider uses this opportunity to rush in and touch the monster, entering his mind! He plans to try and understand the creature in order to find its weakness! What he finds shocks even the time-traveler! (Like how I left that paragraph so that the suspense and anticipation builds? I’m actually pulling this writing thing off while on my death bed, yo!)
Waverider staggers away from Doomsday, obviously shaken! Superman demands to know what he has found. Finally, the truth is revealed, Doomsday was created by none other than kryptonians! He’s a product of Superman’s home planet! (Didn’t see that coming, did ya? What? You read this in the 90’s or already read the speech balloons in the picture above? Nobody likes a smarty-pants. Well, I’m cool, but that’s my jam.)
However, the two heroes can argue no more about the subject, because Doomsday has stood idle for way too long for his liking! He springs! Thankfully, Superman is prepared and hits the creature in the face with a thunderous punch! The two combatants then begin to destroy one another in hand-to-hand combat! Superman, soon realizes that the monster is quickly gaining the upper hand once again! Rather than face death once again, the Last Son of Krypton pulls yet another weapon from his armor, a lazer sword! (Uh-oh! Watch out Supes, or Disney will sue! Everyone knows that “The Mouse” owns all rights to any lazer sword-like weaponry. Or worse yet, you could be Disney’s next acquisition! Gulp!)
Superman cuts deep into the creature’s tough hide! And while Doomsday stops to heal, he finishes the maneuver with a full blast of heat vision! But the monster is once again way too fast! He pummels Superman within an inch of his heroic life! Waverider tries to intervene as the creature raises the fallen superhero above his head, but Doomsday uses the Man of Steel’s still form as a projectile and shatters the wall to the planet’s reactor! The explosion is deafening! (Is….is Superman dead again? For good?……sob……I had twenty bucks riding on him…..sob……) The blast dissipates Waverider’s energy form and Superman’s body drops limply to the ground.
Doomsday senses victory. He pulls himself from the rubble and approaches the Kryptonian’s unmoving form. But, just as soon as the beast is about to deliver a finishing blow, Superman moves with blinding speed and strikes the creature under the jaw with a powerful uppercut! But the beating doesn’t end there. No. The hero continues his onslaught with renewed strength and determination! While the monster is momentarily stunned, Superman places Waverider’s time travel device around one of Doomsday’s protruding shoulder spikes and activates it, hoping to remove the creature from this already devastated world! (Damn! Did anyone else hear the “Eye of the Tiger” in their heads while that beat-down was going on? No? Hmph. You all sadden my nerdy heart.)
The pair find themselves floating in a specific point in the timestream, a place that can only be described as a living nightmare. That’s when a newly reconstituted Waverider appears! He takes Superman from this place. Only Superman. He leaves the monster to face his end. You see, this is the end of the universe, and no amount of quick healing can stop the end of all that is. This is truly the end of the living engine of destruction known only as Doomsday! (Until DC decides to use the character once again, rendering this epic ending for the powerful supervillain moot. Don’t you just love comic books?) The two heroes thank one another for their part in ending this seemingly unstoppable menace. Mother Box uses the last of its power to reform Superman’s familiar costume before it is no more. Waverider flies off to parts unknown. As for Superman? He enters the window of a worried Lois Lane and embraces her. There is much to be proud of. Afterall, who truly gets to physically defeat the monster in the darkness that they feared as a child? This superhero did.
This article is dedicated to my son, James Christian Miller. He turned eighteen years old this month and is now thrust into the sometimes frightening unknown world of adulthood. May you conquer all of the monsters that lurk in the darkness of your past and future. But remember, there are always those who love you to help you in your fight. I love you.