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Comic Book / Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey

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Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey is a three-issue mini-series published by DC Comics in 1994. It was written by Dan Jurgens, with artwork by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding. In the story, which takes place some months after The Death of Superman, Superman must now face Doomsday again as he awakens from his death on board a ship headed for Apokolips. Its ruler Darkseid having failed in stopping the monster's assault, Superman comes to the aid of protecting its citizens from both Doomsday and the also newly-risen Cyborg Superman, hoping to stop the monster for good as it carries its rampage over to the planet of Calaton. With Waverider from Armageddon 2001 offering assistance, Superman learns the origin of the creature and why it was created in the first place.

This mini-series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parent: Bertron, of the creator/father sort, who subjects his creation to a repeated cycle of death and rebirth. When the creation eventually reaches the perfect state and turns against his creator, Bertron tries to talk him down by saying, "You cannot kill... your father," only to be soon killed afterward.
  • Abusive Precursors: Bertron comes from a Kryptonian species that predated Superman's race.
  • Adaptive Ability: Doomsday's primary ability is that he will become immune to anything used against him, as Superman and the Radiant find out.
  • Asshole Victim: Berton's death at the hands of Doomsday was well-deserved.
  • Back from the Dead: Doomsday, naturally, as his body was picked up by some space cargo freighters and it came back to life, restarting his rampage.
  • Big Bad: Doomsday for parts one and three; Cyborg Superman for part two.
  • Body Surf: Cyborg Superman, who first surfs into an Apokoliptian robotic body and restructures it for his use, then later surfs into and restructures that world's technology for his use to get the upper hand on Superman.
  • Brown Note: Cyborg Superman plugs himself into Apokolips' communications technology and sends out a sonic frequency so painfully loud that it jellifies the minds of the Parademon troops and kills them instantly.
  • Companion Cube: Superman is given a Mother Box for his journey to Apokolips, to help him deal with Cyborg Superman and Doomsday.
  • Continuity Snarl: A minor one that really holds no bearing with the comic as this story was released around the same time "The Fall of Metropolis" storyline was running, but Metropolis itself is still standing and pristine, something that wouldn't happen until after Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!.
  • Darker and Edgier: Perhaps even more so than The Death of Superman with its gruesome deaths.
  • Death World: Krypton in its distant past, which played a part in the creation of Doomsday. A Mad Scientist dumped a baby onto the surface, where it died instantly. He then cloned the few surviving cells. Repeat ad infinitum until you get a Nigh-Invulnerable monster that has evolved enough to survive.
  • Decapitation Presentation: One of the Apokoliptian guards had the misfortune of having his head ripped off by Doomsday and flung over the heads of his fellow guards.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Bertron wanted to make the Ultimate Life Form and proceeded to launch him out into prehistoric Krypton for decades, subjecting the creature to a torturous cycle where it would be "killed" and then cloned back to life with some memory of its previous death. Bertron never stopped to think what would happen when he finally succeeded or what would happen when his creation broke free of his control.
  • Dream Intro: The first part of the story starts with Superman having a dream about him confronting Doomsday, starting with him going into the cellar of his foster parents' home as a child.
  • Due to the Dead: With Doomsday seemingly killed by the Radiant in their first encounter together, the Calatonians follow their burial customs for him instead of just destroying the body. They bound the creature's body with metallic bonds, seal him up inside a thick walled cube container, and shipped him off into outer space where he would do no harm... or so it seemed, as the ship was knocked off its course by an asteroid field and crash-landed on Earth in its distant past.
  • Enemy Mine: Superman and Darkseid both fight together to stop Doomsday and Cyborg Superman.
  • Energy Being: The Radiant, created by the Calaton royal family's merging their psychic energies together to form him.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Cyborg Superman, once he took over an Apokoliptian robotic body and restructured it for his use, dropping all pretense of being Superman, but still wearing a part of Superman's face with his new body.
  • Eye Beams: Darkseid's Omega Beams become useful in stopping Cyborg Superman. Superman's heat vision... hardly does anything even against Doomsday.
  • Freudian Excuse: Waverider briefly merges with Doomsday and finds out the reason for the monster's rampage — he basically sees Superman in particular (attributed to Superman's Kryptonian heritage) as a reflection of his creator/father Bertron, who caused him to die again and again, to the point where it has become a Genetic Memory.
  • Genetic Memory: Doomsday somehow remembers what happened to all of Berton's previous experiments in creating the perfect creature.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In Doomsday's origin story, Bertron created him to be the perfect unkillable creature that could not only conquer the harsh environment it was thrust into repeatedly, but would also slay its resident creatures. However, once the creature reached the point where nothing on the planet could withstand him, Doomsday turned its attention on its creators, killing them and Bertron in the process.
  • Had to Be Sharp: This trope is essentially Doomsday's Origin Story. By forcing it onto the Death World of prehistoric Krypton over and over again, retrieving DNA samples and cloning it back to life after it was killed, only the fittest and most adaptable traits of "the infant" managed to survive in the subsequent versions, until they became the genocidal, rampaging monster we know today.
  • Healing Factor: Doomsday shows his healing powers when Superman attacks him with an energy sword and the sword wound is instantly healed.
  • Homing Lasers: The trope picture comes from the below-mentioned moment of Darkseid trying to strike at Doomsday with his Omega beams bending around to hit him from behind.
  • In the Back: Darkseid turns his back on Doomsday after striking him down with his Omega Beams, and Doomsday arises and strikes Darkseid in the back with his bone spikes, seriously injuring the brutal leader of Apokolips.
  • It Only Works Once: The Radiant's energy attack which killed Doomsday in the past no longer has any effect on the creature when the recreated Radiant tries it again on him.
    • In fact, it's Doomsday's main superpower, to overcome any kind of power or attack that caused a previous death.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Bertron's method of creating Doomsday was to keep launching clones of the same baby into the hostile environment over and over again, retrieving DNA samples and growing a new version, until the baby "evolved" into the ultimate survivor.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bertron's constant abuse to his creation by causing him to die repeatedly so he could be cloned over and over resulted in his creation eventually turn on him and beat him to a bloody pulp.
  • Light Is Good: The Radiant, the Calatonian superhero created by the royal family's merged energies to fight Doomsday.
  • Mad Scientist: Bertron, who is rather cold and dispassionate most of the time during the time he was working on creating his artificial lifeform.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Bertron twice, whenever his child creation is destroyed.
  • Mr. Exposition: Waverider fills this roll in the middle of the storyline, telling Superman the full history of Doomsday via a projection of the circumstances of Doomsday's origin and his defeat on Calaton.
  • No-Sell: Darkseid's omega beams do little more than trap Doomsday under rubble for a few moments.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Calaton royal family sacrifice their lives to save their world from Doomsday, by merging their psychic energies together to form the Radiant.
  • Save the Villain: As villainous as Darkseid normally is, Superman uses the Mother Box to save Darkseid's life when the ruler of Apokolips is seriously injured by Doomsday.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Cyborg Superman sealed his life force away in a small mechanism that he attached to the rock he had bound Doomsday's body to and thrust into the depths of space, later inhabiting and restructuring a fallen Apokoliptian cyborg body into his new body. Before the story's end, Darkseid seals Cyborg Superman's life essence again into a small container, keeping him on hand should he ever need him.
  • Sonic Stunner: Superman uses a sonic weapon to incapacitate Doomsday, but Doomsday seals up his ear canals to make the weapon ineffective.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Doomsday was able to extend the bone spikes in his knuckles to pierce Superman through the shoulder.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Calaton's energy generators blow up during Superman's fight with Doomsday on that world.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Again, Superman has to violate that principle to stop Doomsday again, albeit after confirming that Doomsday is a mindless engine of destruction that won't stop causing destruction. Given Doomsday's current level of evolution, it requires Superman to have Mother Box take them to the end of time to have entropy devour the creature in order to stop him for good.
  • Time Travel: With Waverider offering assistance, you can bet this trope is going to come into play, and it does, as Waverider's time-travel controls are used in the defeat of Doomsday.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mother Box gives Superman a range of additional weapons for the rematch with Doomsday.
  • Ultimate Life Form: Bertron's original design for the creation that became Doomsday. In fact, the creature was named the Ultimate when it was nearing its final form that became its current form.
  • Wham Line: "Doomsday was born on Krypton!"