The Doomsday Wars

by Dan Jurgens
& Norm Rapmund
(DC Comics, 1999)

The gray-skinned, muscle-bound Doomsday was custom-designed to kill Superman.

Their climactic battle, which spanned several issues of the Superman comic, ended with both landing fatal blows. Superman died but, as we all knew he would, got better.

And, since Superman was resurrected after the battle, it's only fair that Doomsday was, too. Of course, with both fatalities reversed, any real impact of the storyline was negated, but that's one of those issues comic-book publishers rarely think through.

Anyway, that brings us to The Doomsday Wars, which is Doomsday's third appearance (after dying twice). This time, the bony behometh is rescued from oblivion by the alien genius Brainiac, who poured his superior intellect into Doomsday's body to create an unstoppable killing and thinking machine.

But of course Superman will stop him, right?

Ah, but boyhood sweetheart Lana Lang has just delivered a premature baby, and Superman must fly the infant to a distant hospital in hopes of saving its life. Granted, his flight path takes him right over Doomsday's swath of destruction, where the broken bodies of the JLA litter his path, but Superman has decided that saving one infant's life is more important than saving hundreds of civilians in the monster's way, so he's not stopping. Or rather, he doesn't want to stop, but Doomsday/Brainiac has other plans.

The story boils down to a big slugfest, with JLA heroes sadly ineffective and Superman mostly distracted. And somehow it all hinges on a bunch of cows that died on Pa Kent's farm when Superman was an unpowered teen.

The art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund is good, but Jurgens' story needs more punch. This is a good read for anyone who loves Doomsday or Lana Lang, but it's not nearly as good as it could have been.

by Tom Knapp
7 April 2007

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