Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 2

April 1st, 2013 by |


Alias: Teth Adam, Theo Adam
First Appearance: Marvel Family #1 (1945)
Powers: The stamina of Shu, the swiftness of Heru, the strength of Amon, the wisdom of Zehuti, the power of Aton and the courage of Mehen. Can also summon lightning by shouting his trigger word
Other Media: Appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, the Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam.

I’m not sure if Black Adam is the very first “dark shadow of an existing hero” supervillain in comics, but he’s got to be up there. Thousands of years ago, the wizard Shazam decided on empowering a champion to do acts of heroism. He saw a prince who he deemed pure-hearted and granted him the powers of the gods upon speaking the wizard’s name. Teth/Mighty Adam was an unbeatable force for good, but the power soon corrupted him and he felt the need to rule the world. Shazam couldn’t depower him, so he just banished him across the universe.

It took 5,000 years of non-stop, pissed-off flying for Black Adam to reach Earth (referenced in his Injustice intro) and by that time, he had been replaced with the team of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. He fought them to a standstill until being tricked into saying “Shazam”. The years caught up to him at once and he decayed into a skeleton in an instance. He wasn’t brought back for another 30 years, resurrected by mad scientist Dr. Sivana. During the rest of the pre-Crisis years, he just showed up every now and then to be Evil Captain Marvel.

They kept switching up his backstory over the years, but the gist of it was that he fought as Teth Adam for centuries before going mad with power. Shazam depowered him, ultimately killing him, and buried an artifact filled with his power in a secret location. Thousands of years later, archeologist Theo Adam, along with Billy Batson’s archeologist parents, discovered the artifact. Theo became obsessed with it, killed the Batsons and came to realize that he was the reincarnation of Black Adam. By shouting, “Shazam!” he regained his power and was ultimately defeated by Captain Marvel.

Eventually, it was explained that Theo Adam and Black Adam were two different entities and Black Adam was corrupted by being bound to Theo. Separating himself and becoming his own man, Black Adam joined the Justice Society of America, which is like the Justice League, only with a bunch of senior citizens and a woman with ginormous breasts (compared to the other heroines, so that says something). Captain Marvel joined the team for a while and there was a lot of animosity between the two. While Black Adam disagreed with the JSA’s do-gooder attitude – himself obsessed with old-school “eye for an eye” justice – he still became good friends with Atom Smasher, that giant masked man in one of the Injustice backgrounds.

Black Adam eventually left the JSA to liberate his old homeland of Khandaq. He became its new ruler with Atom Smasher occasionally at his side. When Lex Luthor created the Secret Society, the world’s biggest team-up of supervillains in history, Black Adam joined only in return for Khandaq’s safety. The Society betrayed Black Adam at one point and upon acquiring freedom, he took his rage out on the likes of Psycho Pirate, Captain Nazi and Amazo by killing them all.

Adam held a press conference where he publicly executed the supervillain Terra-Man (whose blood splattered Lois Lane) and said that the world should follow his example. Intergang, a high-tech and far-reaching criminal enterprise that worships crime religiously, made Black Adam an offer for his services, including a beautiful slave girl from Egypt named Adrianna. Adam killed the Intergang members and kept Adrianna in his country as a refugee. The two ended up falling for each other and Adrianna was able to gradually convince Black Adam to be a more optimistic and merciful hero than that of a straight-up murderer.

Adam went to Captain Marvel (who had taken over for the deceased wizard Shazam) and got him to empower Adrianna. She became Isis. See, back in the day, Captain Marvel had his own live-action show that also included segments of an Egyptian, female counterpart named Isis. This was DC finally introducing her into continuity. Soon after, Black Adam saved Adrianna’s brother from slavery and empowered him, rechristening him as Osiris. After being the black sheep of the Marvel family, Black Adam had his own family and ultimately became more chill because of it.

As an aside, there was a totally brilliant subplot going on during all of this involving Intergang. They had a thing going on where they kidnapped a bunch of mad scientists (including Dr. Sivana), threw them on an island, gave them all the drugs they desired and offered them an unlimited budget to create whatever crazy shit they wanted. The ultimate goal was to genetically and mechanically engineer the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Between Intergang, the US and China, Black Adam had made plenty of enemies and there were various conspiracies created to destroy his country, his family and his reputation. Khandaq was hexed into a nation of suffering and the Horsemen succeeded in killing Osiris and Isis. In her final words, Isis admitted she was wrong about the world and gave him permission to avenge them. Black Adam completely lost his shit and killed not only the Four Horsemen, but every man, woman and child in the neighboring country Bialya. Then he flew off to the island of mad scientists, where he was overwhelmed by the nerds’ joint determination in taking down what they saw as the epitome of all bullies.

The JSA saved Black Adam from the scientists, not believing that he was behind the several million deaths he was being charged with, but Black Adam went on a week-long bender where he caused lots and lots of death and destruction across the globe, referred to as World War III. He was defeated in a massive superhero joint effort, ending with him being reverted back to his human form. Captain Marvel wasn’t able to depower him, but was instead able to change the trigger word from “Shazam” to something he figured Black Adam would never say. Atom Smasher helped his friend slip away from the authorities, but a human Adam would wander the streets, desperately saying, “Shazam,” over and over again.

Adam made it his mission to resurrect Isis and regain his powers. Whenever possible, he would recite any word he could think of in hopes of stumbling upon the correct trigger word. Eventually, he realized that it had to be some kind of inside-reference of Billy Batson’s life and discovered it to be “chocolate egg cream”. He succeeded in being reunited with Isis, who had become so fed up with the world that she demanded they wipe it clean of humanity. Even Black Adam thought that was kind of fucked. After a big Marvel Family brawl, the two of them ended up depowered and turned to statues.

He’s shown up post-Flashpoint, but so far nothing radically different other than redoing his origin for the umpteenth time.

Fun fact: Black Adam has no time for your shit.


Alias: Selina Kyle, the Cat, Irena Dubrovna
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)
Powers: Peak human conditioning, exceeds in acrobatics, skilled with a whip, can wear an unzipped catsuit without her nipples falling out
Other Media: A bunch of Batman cartoons, the 60’s show and some movies. One movie we don’t like to talk about.

“I’ve been through three Catwomen. That’s 27 lives, baby.” – Adam West as Batman as Brad Pitt as a vampire

The whole forbidden love aspect of Batman and Catwoman was there from her very first appearance. On a cruise ship, Batman and Robin investigated the heist of a diamond (worth a whopping half a million dollars!), leading them to an old woman. Batman saw through the disguise and palmed her face, rubbing off the mask and makeup while saying one of the all-time most ridiculous Batman quotes, “Quiet or papa spank!” Underneath was the Cat, who didn’t wear any cat-like mask or outfit. Just a green dress. Batman accidentally-on-purpose let her get the slip.

Catwoman bounced back and forth between being reformed and being a criminal across the 50’s and then the writers simply stopped using her completely. She went 12 years without a single comic appearance until the TV show kicked in and made her popular again. Also, the whole Batman/Catwoman attraction thing going on? Producers put a stop to that pretty goddamn fast when Catwoman was played by Eartha Kitt.

In the 80’s Frank Miller rewrote her origin from being a flight attendant with amnesia (what?) to being a former prostitute who wanted to make a life for herself and her friend Holly, who was like a little sister to her. This had been altered a bit over the years by different writers. She became an expert cat burglar, using her animal gimmick in response to the debut of Batman. From the 80’s to the present, she’s been depicted as a self-serving thief with streaks of Robin Hood-like nobility.

She had a bunch of on-again/off-again flings with Batman, who kept declaring that, no, it could never work. Still, there was a time when Catwoman was thought dead and when she returned to Gotham, she and Batman went out together as Bruce and Selena. Prior to sealing the deal, Bruce broke down crying and professed his love to her.

While Catwoman had her own series in the 90’s, nobody really cared until early 00’s when the amazing writer/artist team of Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke took on the character and turned it into a critically-acclaimed series. They brought Holly back into the fold and reintroduced Slam Bradley, a forgotten private eye whose first appearance in DC predates both Superman and Batman. While she held a heroic streak, her actions came to question when tying into a big DC event story Identity Crisis.

In Identity Crisis, it was revealed that years ago, some Justice League members voted to mind-rape a rapist supervillain and rewire his head to make him something less sinister. Batman saw this go down and in desperation, they magically removed the memory from his head (when he did remember it, he was PISSED). Feeling bad, the League decided to kidnap Catwoman and rewire her head a bit and make her more heroic, hoping it would make Batman happier. Zatanna, the sorceress behind the mindwiping, later undid her spell out of guilt and gave Catwoman her mind back. Catwoman understandably had a major mental breakdown.

Around this time, Catwoman became enemies with Black Mask, a notorious Gotham City gangster. Black Mask fucked with Catwoman’s loved ones hardcore and now no longer bound by any heroic honor, Catwoman surprised Black Mask by murdering him. Selina couldn’t deal with her actions and quit being Catwoman.

DC skipped forward a year in continuity for all of its comics at once and in the instance of Catwoman, two major changes happened in that time. One, Holly became the new Catwoman. Two, Selina gave birth to a daughter Helena (coincidentally, in the old Earth 2 continuity, Bruce and Selina had a daughter with that name). Despite hints that it was Batman’s kid, they later revealed the father to be Slam Bradley’s son Sam, who was already killed off by this point.

Selina returned to her role as Catwoman, but realized that it wasn’t something she could subject Helena to. She gave her up for adoption and asked Zatanna to remove her memories of Helena. Zatanna refused, saying she could never do anything so cruel as to make a mother forget her own daughter. Catwoman came to accept that despite the mental tinkering, she would have become a better person regardless and became a close ally to the Bat-family.

Funny thing about Catwoman’s comic. Around the time of the terrible Halle Berry movie’s release, they did a story where Catwoman fought a villain named Film Freak. When the issues were released in trade paperback form, the volume was titled “It’s Only a Movie”.

When Batman was considered dead, Catwoman started her own anti-hero trio with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy called the Gotham City Sirens. While the three worked together for a little while, Catwoman eventually explained that they were working in conjunction with the Bat-family. Catwoman was trying to help reform Harley and Ivy and in return, Batman and his associates would lay off on trying to bring them in. The team fell apart and Catwoman made sure to help the other two slip away from being apprehended. Catwoman was last seen being chased by Batman, angry and about to apprehend her.

Post-Flashpoint, Catwoman’s gone back to basics. She’s still a Robin Hood type of character with the big difference being that she no longer knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Her comic is mainly remembered for the end of the first issue, which ends with she and Batman having some gratuitous and rather explicit rooftop sex.

Oh, and now she’s in the Justice League of America (which is separate from the regular Justice League in that it’s government-controlled) for some reason.

Catwoman appeared regularly on the Batman: the Brave and the Bold cartoon. One episode, where she teamed up with Black Canary and the Huntress as the Birds of Prey, was banned in the US. This was because of a musical number filled with adult innuendo. This included claims that Aquaman has a small dick, Plastic Man suffers erectile dysfunction and Green Arrow is gay.


Alias: Victor Stone, Cyberion
First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (1980)
Powers: Superhuman strength, lasers and stuff, whatever tech-based abilities the plot asks for
Other Media: Featured prominently on the Teen Titans cartoon and the last season of Superfriends, featured on an episode of Smallville

The son of two brilliant scientists, Vic Stone exceeded in his grades and academics in high school, preparing him for a bright future. That all came to an end when an experiment of his parents got out of control, killed his mother and horribly injured Vic. His father saved him by grafting a bunch of cybernetic attachments to his body, turning him into a teenage Robocop, essentially. Rather than react the sensible way of, “Whoa, damn! This is the coolest shit ever other than mom being dead! Thanks, dad!” he instead cursed his father out and begged for the sweet release of death.

He ended up making the best of it by joining the Teen Titans. This was the start of the groundbreaking Marv Wolfman/George Perez run on Teen Titans. Before this, Teen Titans was just where a bunch of sidekicks hung out. Wolfman introduced new characters before taking it in directions that made it DC’s most popular series for several years. Interestingly enough, the title “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was a tongue-in-cheek reference to how Teen Titans, X-Men and Daredevil were the biggest selling comics at the time.

Cyborg was added to the roster of the Superfriends during the last season, which Seanbaby accurately referred to as, “the season when it was still crappy enough to suck, but not quite crappy enough to be good.” He still whined about being a freak and it didn’t matter because nobody gave a shit about him. It was Firestorm’s show, whose ridiculous matter-changing powers made Superman look inadequate.

The only thing of interest to happen to Cyborg during his years in the Teen Titans was when he was so badly damaged in a battle that he was made into even more of a cyborg to the point that he ended up merging with the inhabitants of some tech planet and became a being called Cyberion. Vic became increasingly robotic in terms of personality and it soon turned him into a threat. He was returned to normal via a cloned body and for a brief time had the ability to make himself appear human. Then after a team-up with the Flash, he returned to looking like his usual half-robot-with-no-pants self.

Due to the popularity of the Teen Titans cartoon, the Teen Titans comic reintroduced Cyborg, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy into the ranks, even though by this point Cyborg and Starfire were easily in their 20’s. They explained this away by referring them as “mentors”. Just like in his initial Teen Titans run, Cyborg never really did anything of note that set him apart from the rest of the pack.

Cyborg decided to start up a Teen Titans roster on the east coast with him as the leader. The comic Titans East was a big fakeout as the entire team was annihilated by Raven’s demon father Trigon in the very first issue with Cyborg’s body almost completely destroyed. He scrapped any more plans for Titans East and instead rejoined the regular Titans team by the end of the issue.

When the Flash accidentally rewrote history during the Flashpoint story, many of the big name heroes either never came to exist or never existed as heroes. With that power vacuum, Cyborg became known as the #1 superhero of the world, much like how Superman is normally.

Post-Flashpoint, Cyborg was reintroduced in the Justice League series where his origin tied in with the team banding together. He helped them drive Darkseid away from Earth and became one of the team’s founding members. In this new continuity, the machinery that makes up half of Cyborg’s is a hybrid of all sorts of tech by various big brain DC characters, as well as “the Mother Box” a magical piece of super high tech machinery from Darkseid’s world. Just think of it as a smart phone from outer space that Jack Kirby thought up back in the early 70’s because he was THAT before his time.

Cyborg is pretty boring outside of a team setting, so all they can ever do is shove him into a team to liven things up.


Alias: Slade Wilson
First Appearance: New Teen Titans #2 (1980)
Powers: Above peak physical condition, the ability to use 90% of his brain, virtually unmatched at combat, healing factor
Other Media: Main villain on the Teen Titans cartoon, appeared in the animated movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths as well as Young Justice, Smallville and Arrow.

Slade joined the army in his teens and quickly rose up the ranks. He became a skilled killer and eventually married his instructor Adeline. He became a guinea pig for a super soldier program, very similar to that of Marvel’s Captain America, which enhanced his physiology and allowed him access to 90% of his brain (the “you only use 10% of your brain” concept wasn’t considered total bullshit back when this was written). Due to the inner-politics that came with the military, Slade left and started doing mercenary work. His son Joseph was kidnapped by a man wanting information on one of Slade’s prior employers, but he refused to divulge that information due to his own sense of honor. He saved Joseph, but at the cost of his son’s vocal chords being severed. Finding out the truth of her husband’s double life and how he refused to give into the terrorist demands to save Joseph, Adeline shot Slade in the face, taking out his eye.

Under the name Deathstroke the Terminator, he became the world’s foremost assassin in the years that followed. He had an illegitimate son named Grant, who grew up to become a great mercenary himself under the name Ravager. Despite not knowing Deathstroke was his father, Ravager’s outfit appeared near identical. Ravager was hired to take out the Teen Titans and died during his failure. Deathstroke decided to pick up the contract and make it his mission to kill the Teen Titans.

He became their main adversary during the beloved Wolfman-written years, culminating in a story called the Judas Contract. The Teen Titans inducted a new member named Terra, who was secretly working alongside Deathstroke all along. This was pretty controversial, as it was heavily insinuated that they were nailing each other on the side and Terra was most definitely underage. Terra betrayed the Titans as expected, but was driven to suicide in her defeat. Deathstroke was arrested, but Beast Boy – who loved Terra – made sure to sabotage the trial so that he could kill Deathstroke himself. Deathstroke agreed to meet up with him, but instead of fighting, he insisted on bringing him to a nearby coffee shop. There, they talked out their differences and Deathstroke explained that he didn’t corrupt Terra. Terra was bad news from the beginning. The two finally made peace, with Deathstroke no longer interested in antagonizing the Teen Titans.

Deathstroke teamed up with the Titans from time to time and soon was given his own comic series about his mercenary adventures that lasted for five years. When the Teen Titans comic was being brought back to prominence thanks to the new cartoon, writer Geoff Johns made sure to turn Deathstroke into a villain again. One, because he was the main villain of the cartoon and two, because for the past ten years, all DC’s been able to do with Teen Titans is shamelessly retell every trope from the Wolfman run. Deathstroke was the villain then? Well, he’s the villain now because fuck originality.

Since he apparently got around more than Screaming Jay Hawkins, Deathstroke had another child named Rose. He sought her out and trained her to be the new Ravager. She was sort of crazy at first and even cut out her own eye for the sake of making herself more like daddy. Nightwing and the Teen Titans eventually made her see the light and she ran off from her father’s influence.

He also had a pretty major moment in the comic Identity Crisis. Hired to protect the supervillain Dr. Light from several Justice League members, Deathstroke proceeded to take them apart all on his own. This mostly happened because the heroes were written as incompetent jackasses, leading to such great decisions as Flash running straight into Deathstroke’s sword and Green Lantern choosing to punch Deathstroke instead of, I don’t know, using that goddamn ring that makes him so powerful!

That was a microcosm for Deathstroke’s main problem ever since returning to his villain ways. He became far too unbeatable to an over-the-top extent. He was like an unintentional parody of how Batman tends to be written, only Batman is allowed to lose and look weak at times because he’s the protagonist. Deathstroke just became a big “I’m more badass than everyone” plot device.

When Lex Luthor started up his Secret Society of Supervillains, Deathstroke was part of the inner circle. As part of the Secret Society, he killed a handful of heroes, including Uncle Sam (yes, literally Uncle Sam) and turned Nightwing’s city of Bludhaven into a toxic graveyard, killing over a hundred thousand people. At the end of the Infinite Crisis storyline, Deathstroke was overtaken in a fight against Batman, Nightwing and Robin, screaming at Nightwing for constantly turning his own family against him.

Deathstroke started up his own anti-Titans team to kill the Teen Titans. This story is notable because one of the members was Batgirl (Cassandra Cain, the best Batgirl), based on the idea that during DC’s “One Year Later” concept, she had become evil. This went over like a lead balloon, since she was wildly popular and Johns had to change it so that Deathstroke was using some kind of mind control serum on her.

Though he continued to play the bad guy, he did make some kind of amends with his daughter Rose and his son Joseph (who had since joined the Teen Titans as Jericho). He started yet another team called the Titans that was simply an evil mercenary group. The comic that introduced them was infamously bad. Mainly because of how it had Deathstroke and his Titans kill off Ryan Choi. See, DC got rid of the Atom (Ray Palmer) for a while and replaced him with a minority, which is something DC’s wont to do. Then they brought back Palmer as the Atom and deeming the minority replacement unnecessary, killed him off. Fans were pissed.

The same comic also featured one of the most laughably “are you serious?!” moments of the last couple of years when it introduced Cinder, a female Human Torch-type of character. She revealed her powers by seducing a pedophile and setting her crotch on fire during coitus. THIS HAPPENED.

While the in-continuity Teen Titans comics have sucked for years, there was a series for the youngsters called Tiny Titans that was sort of awesome in its adorableness. It featured the Titans as little kids in school with Deathstroke existing as the principal. Wearing his one-eyed mask, suit and tie.

Post-Flashpoint, Deathstroke has been shown to be more of the same. Despite being a top assassin, his age his starting to show and it’s only made him decide to step up his game.

Deathstroke is famously known as being the inspiration for Marvel’s Deadpool, whose name is Wade Wilson. Back in the early 90’s, terrible artist Rob Liefeld was working at Marvel and wanted to be able to draw Deathstroke. Deadpool was created as a Deathstroke ripoff for the sake of letting him scratch that itch. Over twenty years later, Liefeld would get to live his dream by taking over the Deathstroke comic series, both writing and drawing it. It was very, very bad, which was incredibly unfortunate as the prior writer/artist team had made the series incredibly enjoyable.

Liefeld was driven off the book due to his rising hatred of DC’s editorial staff and went on to bitch and complain about it an awful lot on Twitter. I recall that in an issue that was meant to give Deathstroke an updated origin, Liefeld just redrew a ton of pages from the 80’s Teen Titans version of the story. When people called him out on his blatant copy job, he said, hey, he was told to write and draw Deathstroke’s origin, so he did just that!

As the villain on the Teen Titans cartoon, Deathstroke had to go by his first name Slade due to standards and practices. He was voiced by Ron Perlman because the people behind that show were smart. He was also in the Crisis on Two Earths animated movie, which was based on there being an alternate world where the heroes were villains and villains were heroes. There, he was President of the United States.

Coincidentally, the same concept came up in the comics, but instead of being the president, the morally-reversed version of Deathstroke was really just Deadpool with a blue and orange color scheme. He kept getting interrupted before he could say his name.


Alias: The Destroyer
First Appearance: Superman: Man of Steel #18 (1992)
Powers: Immeasurable strength and invulnerability, resurrection, able to evolve himself and make himself less vulnerable to whatever hurts or even kills him
Other Media: Appeared on the Justice League cartoon, Smallville and had roles in the animated movies Superman: Doomsday and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. The Death of Superman story was turned into a videogame.

Doomsday is the comic book version of a one-hit wonder. He had his moment in the sun and was never, ever able to follow up on it.

His origin was explained after the fact, but he was a primitive Kryptonian boy from before the days of Krypton being civilized. An alien scientist used him as an experiment where he’d throw the boy into the wild and watch him be eviscerated within seconds. Then he’d clone the boy and send him out again. The process eventually caused the clones to become more resilient to the wild. He’d continue to die, but he’d last longer and be taken out by bigger threats. Soon he gained the ability to come back without cloning and would become all but immune to what felled him. He killed the scientist and became kind of a big galactic threat. Some aliens went through a LOT of effort and sacrifice (ie. blowing up a third of the planet to hurt him) to finally defeat him and imprisoned him deep into planet Earth where both arms were bound with special metal and he had no movement.

Eons later, he finally got an arm free and started punching his way out of the prison. Then he punched his way to the surface of Earth and went on a rampage. The Justice League (made entirely of B-listers and worse, other than the absent Superman) investigated it and got their asses collectively kicked, including Blue Beetle being put in critical condition.

Superman showed up just in time to see Booster Gold get beaten into paste. Booster Gold coined the name “Doomsday” and, greedy douche that he was, later admitted that he wanted to trademark the term and get residuals, but he was too late. Coincidentally, Booster – who is from the future with a D+ knowledge of history – got a lot of flak for not giving people the heads up about the giant bone-faced monster. His buddy Blue Beetle figured that Booster knew, but was trying to sacrifice himself in order to protect Superman and failed.

Superman and Doomsday duked it out for a while, ending up in the streets of Metropolis. The two punched each other at the same time with the blows shattering all nearby windows and successfully killing them both. The Death of Superman story itself is a cool brawl. The follow-up, Funeral for a Friend, is just a bunch of boring mourning and Batman gets like one short scene to reflect. The only part that stood out was Lois hysterically crying and clutching the tattered cape in response to how the authorities had no way of giving CPR to a guy as invulnerable as Superman. “Damn it! Somebody’s got to do something! We owe the man more than this!” The fact that she had only recently found out that he was Clark Kent added to the emotion.

I’ll talk more about the Reign of Supermen/Return of Superman when I get to Superman’s profile, but it definitely remains one of my favorite comics. Doomsday was written out of it when the mysterious Cyborg Superman barged into STAR Labs, deemed Doomsday’s corpse as too menacing to keep around and threw it into space. Good timing too, as Doomsday soon woke up and started laughing.

Doomsday would pop up every now and then, but never proved himself to be more than a cool-looking plot device who was only being brought back because of his first story’s popularity. After all, he didn’t have a personality and his evolution power made him really hard to repeatedly use. Superman did end up beating him in at least one rematch.

Other than Death of Superman, the best use of the characters in the 90’s was his appearance in Amalgam Comics. Marvel and DC were friendlier back then and would occasionally release comics of a merged world that mixed together their properties (ie. Logan Wayne is Dark Claw, whose arch-nemesis is the giggling, hairy psychopath Hyena). This concept gave us the supervillain Dr. Doomsday and I can’t help but love it.

One of the more interesting uses of Doomsday – and I’m not really saying “good interesting” – was when Chuck Austen was writing Superman. Austen was a very bad writer who was rather successful for a couple years due to being put on properties that would have sold well regardless of talent. His run on X-Men was a gigantic disaster, agreed by many to be some of the worst comics ever written in the franchise, but a lot of people agreed that there was one saving grace: he wrote about Juggernaut becoming a hero and joining the team and he did it rather well. Working in DC and behind Superman’s series, Austen figured he’d pull the same stunt with Doomsday.

Doomsday started mentally evolving to the point that when confronted by Superman, he retreated because he knew that getting beat up would suck. He slowly began to understand his emotions and started to get Superman’s heroism when he saw the hero defeated and captured by a time-traveling villain named Gog. In Superman’s absence, Doomsday became known as a great hero, who wore a tattered jockstrap with the Superman symbol on it. 200 years later, Doomsday discovered that Superman was still alive, tortured by Gog and went to rescue him. Superman convinced Gog that the villain was in the wrong and a sorry Gog used his time-travel abilities to prevent these events from transpiring in the first place. This was supposed to wipe away Doomsday’s developed sentience, but it didn’t really make any sense because wouldn’t he just evolve in that direction anyway?

Doomsday went back to being used as a mindless weapon for smarter supervillains. It was shown that the government had been trying to clone Doomsday for years, but could never get it to work. Then they found that kryptonite made it doable, so they mutated a volunteer soldier into what was essentially Doomsday with kryptonite sticking out of him instead of jagged bone. Deemed the All-American Boy, he was the government’s answer for if Superman ever got out of line. He ended up mindlessly attacking him anyway, but stopped when the soldier’s parents appeared and talked him down.

Just prior to Flashpoint, DC did a mini Superman event called Reign of Doomsday, involving even more Doomsday clones. It was a mess and mainly existed because DC liked to occasionally do reunion stories that brought back all the important players from Death and Return of Superman.

He showed up on the Justice League cartoon a couple times, most notably in the Justice Lords episode. Justice Lords Superman fought him in Metropolis, very similar to the original comic fight, but defeated him via heat-vision lobotomy. A disturbed Lois thought it was strangely dark for Superman.

The best Doomsday appearance wasn’t even canon. Grant Morrison wrote a 12-issue series called All-Star Superman, which acted as a love letter to the Silver Age of comics (the really goofy era of comics from the mid 50’s to early 70’s) and Superman in general. He wrote his idea of what a Silver Age version of Doomsday would have been like: a serum that would turn Jimmy Olsen into an unbeatable spiky monster to oppose a corrupted Superman (turned evil after being exposed to black kryptonite). I can’t do it justice, but it turned out to be a really emotional issue and the whole series is worth a look.

And I don’t care what anyone says. The animated movie Superman: Doomsday was rad.

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10 comments to “Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 2”

  1. You forgot to mention that in the fight against Doomsday, Booster Gold got PUNCHED INTO SPACE!

    Also, Doomsday’s best appearance was in Max Landis’s “Death and Return of Superman: The Movie”.

  2. You’re absolutely right, both Death of Superman and Superman: Doomsday are friggen rad. Some really stupid things came from Death, but the series itself really did transcend its “Let’s kill Superman and sell a million comics” origin.

  3. “When Lex Luthor created the Secret Society”

    Wasn’t Alex Luthor disguised as Lex Luthor?

  4. Very helpful looking forward to reading more

  5. @smashpro1: Doomsday punched Booster into the clouds. Not quite as crazy.

    @Guest: It was, but I didn’t feel like going on a tangent to split hairs. Or lack of hairs.

  6. Greatest Doomsday appearance ever: Hulk 413.

  7. The lesson here is that Identity Crisis was awful.

  8. Hey Gavok…would it be possible to have a distinct tag for these particular articles? This is pretty good info that gets lost in the jumble with other articles and THWIPs and such.

  9. @eDAN: Your wish is granted. Long live Jambi.

  10. I couldn’t get into Superman: Doomsday because of Superman’s cheekbones. I just kept staring at his damned cheekbones set halfway back his face.