The big reveal in Wednesday night’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was the introduction of a big bad in the form of Doomsday.
How big and bad? Doomsday is the comic-book character responsible for slaying the Man of Steel in the classic 1990s “Death of Superman” storyline.
Doomsday’s comic color scheme is a bit more vibrant (DC)
Originally known as The Ultimate, Doomsday was genetically engineered by an alien on prehistoric Krypton to become an unstoppable killing machine. With a power set similar to Superman but kicked up a notch (his official DC bio notes “he can survive in any environment and is even capable of cheating death”), the Ultimate laid waste to large swaths of the universe before being neutralized, fettered in a straightjacket, and blasted into space in a reinforced casket.
His casket crashed on Earth — as existential extraterrestrial threats tend to in the comic realm — partially freeing him from his binds. With one hand literally tied behind his back, he mops the floor with the Justice League. Superman arrives and, after Doomsday unshackles himself, the two engage in an epic brawl that ends with both combatants spent and presumed dead in the middle of Metropolis.
The main event in ‘The Death of Superman’ story (DC)
Of course, both Superman and Doomsday eventually returned.
While the BvS iteration of Doomsday appears to share his comic-book forebear’s ferociousness, his provenance is more akin to the versions of Doomsday that appeared in a couple of TV adaptations. In Justice League Unlimited, the monstrous foe was created from Superman’s own DNA ostensibly to keep the Kryptonian hero in check; but the clone, who looked more like the comic book, went rogue.
Superman gives Doomsday an eyeful in ‘Justlice League Unlimited’ (Warner Bros.)
In the live-action series Smallville, it was Zod who helped engineer Doomsday by mixing DNA from Krypton’s most formidable fauna. This Doomsday’s color scheme is closer to one in BvS.
Doomsday as he appeared in ‘Smallville’ (Warner Bros. TV)
For BvS, Lex Luthor has secured the corpse of Zod and apparently uses the slain villains DNA to Frankenstein Doomsday.
Despite fans clamoring for a Doomsday showdown in the new film, there has been considerable blowback about the cinematic version, with Twitter wags comparing him unfavorably to The Incredible Hulk’s Abomination and The Lord of Rings’ troll, among others, per Business Insider.
— B. Alex Thompson (@ApproBAT)
— David Ford (@TheGreat_Dave)
Aside from Doomsday, there’s a hint in the trailer that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their super friends have a showdown with another otherworldly menace in their future.
The insectoid creatures that briefly swoop in when Batman is tangling with some troopers in a desert-like environment are known as Parademons, the advanced troops of Darkseid (they’re not unlike the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys, only far deadlier).
Parademons herald Darkseid’s arrival in the New 52’s ‘Justice League’ (DC)
A longtime antagonist in the DC Universe, Darkseid is much like Marvel’s Thanos — a godlike galactic being whose pasttimes include wanton destruction and who harbors an outsized grudge against Earth and its superheroes.
Darkseid as he appears in the comics (DC)
While there has been no confirmation of Darkseid’s (pronounced “Darkside”) presence in BvS, he has long been rumored to be a villain worthy enough for the upcoming Justice League teamup films, which, in addition to the Trinity, will also feature Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives March 25. The first Justice League movie is due in 2017.
Watch the new Batman v Superman trailer below: