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Western Animation / Superman: Doomsday

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Superman: Doomsday is an animated movie adapting the comic storyline of The Death of Superman, and is the very first of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies.

An illegal excavation funded by Lex Luthor for an energy project inadvertently unleashes an unstoppable monster that had been buried there long ago, whom Superman now has to fight, even at the cost of his own life. But shortly after his funeral, it appears the Man of Steel has returned. But things aren't all what they seem...

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Deviation: Instead of just appearing out of nowhere like his first appearance, Doomsday was found by LexCorp employees whom they accidentally release. Thus Lex was indirectly responsible for Superman's death.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The four pretenders to the Superman name were pared down to a single clone of Superman who started out as an Anti-Hero like The Last Son of Krypton before becoming the Big Bad like The Man of Tomorrow.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Mercy is blonde here as she is in the mainstream DC universe, instead of being brunette as per her native continuity, the DC Animated Universe.
  • Adaptation Title Change: Superman: Doomsday is based on The Death of Superman.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Unlike the comics, this Mercy isn't Luthor's bodyguard, but a personal assistant, akin to Eve Teschmacher, lacking even the combat skills of her DCAU incarnation.
  • Adapted Out: The movie wrote out every non-Superman character. Because of its nature as a Direct-to-DVD animated movie and legal issues with Superboy, the replacement Supermen are also replaced by a clone (like Superboy) with elements of Cyborg-Superman and the Eradicator. Jonathan Kent is also written out.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Clone Superman is just a Superman raised by Luthor instead of the Kents, and thus has adopted a cold, pragmatic vigilantism, rather than an empathetic, merciful methodology. The original Superman reassures the clone that he'll make sure that he will continue to protect the people.
  • Asshole Victim: Toyman, for murdering Katie Albert. Even in-universe, the people of Metropolis seem more upset by Superman acting out-of-character than the death of a child murderer.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Doomsday keeps going after something else during his fight with Superman.
  • Bad Boss: Lex kills his loyal underling Mercy just to ensure that he can never be connected with Superman's death.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Superman in the healing tanks and the clones still in the tanks are depicted as naked, but without penises.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Or Superman takes up a Kryptonite gun.
  • Beam-O-War: Between the two Supermen, with heat vision.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Lois gets a slice on her cheek from flying glass, but barely reacts. Also a Call-Back to when she got blood on her face at the beginning.
  • Beware the Superman: Or rather, beware the clone Superman.
  • Big Bad: Lex Luthor, who accidentally unleashed Doomsday and tries to take full advantage of Superman's demise.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Where Superman and Lois officially out their relationship. There's actually two of them— a public kiss after Superman defeats his clone and confirms that he really is Back from the Dead this time, and a later one in private; when Superman finally confirms to Lois that he really is Clark Kent, she enthusiastically throws herself into his embrace.
  • Blood from the Mouth: At one point, Doomsday holds up Supes by the head and continually punches him in the gut, causing Supes to vomit a good deal of blood.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: The Toyman hijacks a school bus full of children and holds it over the edge of a building with his mechanical spider, threatening to dump it if the police don't back off. Lois Lane manages to sneak on board and get most of the children out, but ends up falling with the last child on the bus when the Toyman drops it, only to soon be rescued by Superman who turns out to be a clone under Lex Luthor's control.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: At the beginning, Lois argues with Perry White over him shooting down a story about Lex. Even accusing her of being in Lex's payroll. He did so Lois won't get into any trouble over it.
  • Car Cushion: Toyman's death.
  • Cat Up a Tree: After killing Toyman, Superman rescues a cat from a tree, which seems like Pet the Dog until he starts to lecture the owner about it.
  • Clark Kenting: Of course. Rather conveniently, Clark is transferred to Afghanistan as a war correspondent just in time for Superman to die. Lois has also figured everything out at the beginning of the story, but Superman refuses to make it explicit.
  • Clone Degeneration: The "revived" Superman turns out to actually be a clone, who ultimately goes off the deep end. Though whether this is due to being a clone or because of Luthor's own ineptitude is hard to really determine.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Inverted. The real Superman wears black as he fights the cloned Superman who's wearing his usual primary-coloured suit.
  • Composite Character: The cloned Superman combines elements of three of the replacement Supermen from the comics— The Last Son of Krypton (who killed common criminals), The Man of Tomorrow (who turned out to be the villain of the arc), and The Metropolis Kid (who was a clone of Superman).
    • Also seen in using Luthor as the creator of the Superman clone as opposed to yet another character that they would have had to introduce. In the comics, the "Last Son" was a byproduct of the Eradicator, Cadmus made the Superman clone, and Hank Henshaw actually has multiple origins through interactions with various forms of Phlebotinum.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: In the making of the production, the production team mentioned that they had to redo several frames of animation so that Superman didn't save Lois by sending Doomsday into an occupied building.
  • Creepy Doll: Toyman's arsenal incorporates these, as is standard for the character.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Deconstructed— Lex invents a one-treatment cure for Muscular Dystrophy... and orders Mercy to have his scientists turn it into an expensive, lifetime-long treatment. Unfortunately, the scientists are too busy doing the same thing for the AIDS and Bird Flu cures, so he merely puts it aside, stating that "Jerry's Kids" will have to wait their turn.
  • Darker and Edgier: The sheer graphicness of the violence in the movie along with Toyman's paedophilia seem to be an exercise in seeing how much the moviemakers could get away with, now that the rating was PG-13.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Superman wears a black solar collecting suit. Arguably the so-called "dark Superman" is more preoccupied with order than evil.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Jonathan Kent was alive in The Death of Superman, although the stress of his son's passing caused him to have a near-fatal heart attack. In this version, however, he appears to have been dead for some time, seeing that until Lois went out to seek her, Martha Kent was left to grieve by herself.
    • While the character wouldn't be created until after The Death of Superman, Luthor shoots Mercy after she covers up Lexcorp's role in Doomsday's rampage.
  • Death Flight: Clone Superman goes to the police station where Toyman's being held, picks him up and flies him several hundred feet above the ground, and drops him to his death. Later, he rips out the red sun lamp room where Luthor is hiding and drops it onto the street from the top of the Lexcorp skyscraper, however Luthor survives, but is seriously injured and bed ridden at the end..
  • Death Seeker: It's hinted that Lois may have developed some of these tendencies following Superman's death out of grief— she's still throwing herself headlong into dangerous situations, but as Perry points out to her, Superman isn't around to swoop in and save her anymore.
  • Determinator: Superman. Even when Doomsday's got him on the ropes, he just. Won't. Quit.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Superman appears to die in Lois' arms, and Clone!Superman dies in the real Superman's arms.
  • Dirty Coward: Toyman. He only goes after powerless children, then bolts out as soon as Superman's in the picture.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Doomsday. Despite being the title villain, he and Superman kill one another early on, with Lex Luthor and the clone serving as the primary antagonists.
  • Disney Villain Death: How Clone!Superman kills Toyman. However, the usual Gory Discretion Shot is averted with a Car Cushion.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Supes not wanting to admit that he's Clark to Lois, who already knows, is analogous to two things:
  • Dug Too Deep: And discovered Doomsday! Good job, Lex.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Lex thinks that he's safe in a panic room full of kryptonite and lit with red sunlight lamps. Clone Superman locks the door, rips the room out of the building, and drops it to the street below.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Superman returns and defeats the clone Superman, who had seemingly killed Lex Luthor slightly beforehand. Then Lex shows up, critically injured but plotting a new scheme against the Man of Steel.
  • Establishing Character Moment: See Cut Lex Luthor a Check.
  • Evil Laugh: A couple of Lexcorp employees are shown mocking Luthor's grandiose schemes, including the requisite hammy laugh.
  • Evil Wears Black: When the real Superman turns up wearing a black solar energy absorbing suit, Olsen assumes things have gone From Bad to Worse with an even more evil Superman on the scene.
  • Explosive Leash: Clone Superman discovers that Luthor has implanted a tiny lead-walled pellet in his brain containing Kryptonite, which Luthor can break open remotely if he feels the need to take Clone Superman down.
  • Eye Lights Out: The only way you know Doomsday is dead for real.
  • Giant Spider: Superman fights one (as the Take That! entry below shows, it's a hell of an in-joke).
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Used for most of the murders that Doomsday commits, but one example sticks in your mind. Towards the end of their fight, Doomsday has Superman in a neck lift and is repeatedly ramming a fist into his stomach with enough force to make the ground shake. Cut to Lois looking on and flinching away as we hear the fourth punch... and we hear Superman vomiting, and Superman's blood splatters across her face. Her horrified expression as she realizes this says it all.
    • In a bit of Gallows Humor, Clone Superman going to a beauty shop and using heat vision on his own head to surgically remove a Restraining Bolt from his brain. A woman fainting in horror sells it.
  • Grave Robbing: Lex Luthor steals Superman's corpse from his grave, and then Superman's robot assistant steals it back.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Poor Mercy. Though in this case, it's more like "have you cleaned up every loose end besides yourself?"
  • He Who Fights Monsters: What happens to clone Superman.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lex nearly suffers one. He creates a Superman clone that never learned Thou Shalt Not Kill. When the clone frees himself from Lex's control, the one thing that saved him from Superman is now gone.
  • Honey Trap: Lois displays vulnerability in front of Lex, even kissing him, just long enough to hit him with what looks like enough tranq to put down a horse. She spits disgustedly afterward.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Kevin Smith as a bystander.
  • Innocent Bystander: A little girl is crying off slightly to the left when Doomsday rampages, this is enough to earn his murderous ire since he can't distinguish between friend or foe, something threatening or harmless.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Superman invokes this trope when Lois accuses him of Commitment Issues. Lois returns that's bullshit because everyone thinks they're dating anyway.
  • It's What I Do
    • A variation is used just before Superman goes after Doomsday one last time, after Lois tries to convince him not to re-enter the battle.
    • Lois says the same when Lex asks how she got past his security.
  • Kiss of Distraction: While investigating the possibility that Lex Luthor has something to do with the way Superman is acting following his return to life, she goes to Lex's office to seek comfort now that Superman is gone. While they make out, Lois jabs a syringe full of sedative in his neck, and once he's knocked out, she pushes him off, and spits on him.
  • Knight Templar: The clone Superman, to a truly creepy degree. The guy kills Toyman (who, to be fair, had just killed a four year-old, but this is Superman), and here's the speech he gives a woman after saving her Cat Up a Tree:
    Now you know, Persian longhairs really shouldn't be outdoors. ... It really irks me when folks don't take responsibility for the little things. Don't get me wrong—I'm here to help. But every time I have to stop and sweat the small stuff, it potentially keeps me from attending to more urgent matters. Life-threatening matters. You may wanna think about that next time you leave the screen door open.
    • Adam Baldwin really sells the moment so well that you're not sure if Clone Superman isn't going to kill that cat or not.
    • After using his heat vision to destroy the guns of the cops attempting to arrest him—causing some injuries from burns and ammunition cooking off—the clone warns one of the injured cops to watch his language in a tone of voice implying the cop might be on the receiving end of another burst of heat vision—or worse.
  • Lack of Empathy: Lex Luthor says that his duplicate Superman has the same morality as the original, but he doesn't seem to notice the obvious difference.
    • Freudian Excuse: The empathy is there (he's angry enough to commit his first murder to avenge a dead child) but not the moral upbringing and belief in the American Way the real Superman got from the Kents.
  • Large Ham:
    • Toyman.
    • Luthor and his "naughty list" tirade.
  • Light Is Not Good: Lex Luthor is primarily dressed in white.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Played with; Superman and Lois have begun a romantic (and, it's heavily implied, sexual) relationship, but Superman refuses to tell Lois his secret identity. Lois, however, has clearly already worked out that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person, but just wants him to open up to her as a sign of trust and commitment. The fact that he won't causes tension between them.
  • Morality Chain: Apparently, this is what Superman is to the world. Without him, it's not pretty. Crime rate in Metropolis skyrockets, Lois begins taking more risks out of desperation to help people even though she knows Superman won't be around to save her, Jimmy quits the Planet to work for a tabloid, and Perry starts drinking.
  • More Hateable Minor Villain: The titular Doomsday is just a mindless monster and Lex Luthor is his typical Mad Scientist Corrupt Corporate Executive self but the Toyman is presented as a child kidnapper and ultimately child killer. That last one, killing a four year-old girl, leads to him suffering a Vigilante Execution at the hands of Luthor's Superman clone.
  • Motive Rant: Lex Luthor narrates with one in the film's prologue, highlighting his delusional jealousy, animosity, and personal attraction to Superman, his disgust for his saintly image, and desire to cause his death.
    Lex Luthor: Just look at him. So sleek. So powerful. So beautiful. Like some great golden god made flesh. Of course any sensible god would demand absolute obedience in return for his favor, but no. Our Man of Steel protects us and keeps us with no strings attached. And the People? Hmph! They practically worship him anyway. Enjoy your reign while you may, Superman. For as surely as night follows day, there comes a time where even gods must die.
  • Mr. Fanservice: There's a lot of slightly-clad Superman in this movie.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A lot of the stuff in the Fortress is a callback to various other incarnations of Superman (the special mission suits from Superman: The Animated Series, the prisoner rings from the movies, one of the Mechanical Monsters and the Bullet Car from two of the Fleischer Superman cartoons). Toyman's giant robot spider and Kevin Smith's mocking of it refer to a well-known script that was proposed for a Superman movie. The teenaged Superman clones in Luthor's lab resemble the Superman design from Season 1 of the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.
    • The above mentioned line about curing AIDS but deliberately stretching out the treatments is a reference to an early Post-Crisis storyline. In the comics, Luthor came up with a cure for Lois's mother's unspecified illness, but manipulated the formula to require extended and unaffordable treatments to maintain leverage over Lois.
    • Superman's trying to cure cancer, having a machine that receives transmissions from the future, creating miniature suns from dwarf star matter and Lex Luthor's Kryptonite Gun are all references to All-Star Superman.
    • The clone Superman's rescue of an old lady's cat from a tree is reminiscent of a scene from Superman: The Movie.
      • A Superman II reference: Someone gets thrown into a soda billboard during a war between supermen.
    • A Flying Brick created and controlled by Lex sending Toyman to a Disney Villain Death also happened in Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, only there, Superman stopped it, and a clone of him wasn't the cause of it.
    • The discovery and subsequent destruction of the cloning laboratory is heavily similar to the "Identity Crisis" episode of The Animated Series.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The fight between Superman and Doomsday is brutal.
  • Not Himself: The clone Superman dropping Toyman to his death was the first sign for the citizens of Metropolis that the Man of Steel hadn't returned from the dead after all.
    • Even before that Lois Lane has to guide Superman to her apartment, and later finds he hasn't been to visit his mother. This is because Clone Superman only knows what Lex Luthor knows. Lex doesn't know about Martha Kent, or that Superman and Lois are lovers.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Superman's Robot stealing Superman's nearly dead body from Luthor and nursing him back to near-health.
    • In 19 seconds, without a single trace.
  • Oh, Crap!: Lois's reaction to Superman expelling Blood from the Mouth.
    • Luthor's reaction when he expects the clone to join him in the red sun room for a kryptonite powered beating as usual and the clone simply closes the door and tears the room out of the building.
    • Also his reaction when the clone has turned against him and the kryptonite is gone from the clone's brain.
    Lex: Oh, hell.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Luthor isn't happy about Superman being randomly killed by a nameless space monster. He wanted it to happen through one of his evil schemes, darn it! To be fair, his scientists dug up said monster in the first place, as noted by Mercy.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Among other things, it streamlined the Reign of the Supermen segment/act and put Luthor in his traditional appearance and role rather than the long hair and beard he was sporting and pretending to be his own son like he was at the time of the story it's based on. Unfortunately, they also had to cut out Steel. The legal mess with Superboy at the time might've played a hand.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Clone Superman appears to have grabbed Toyman for a High-Altitude Interrogation.
    Toyman: I have rights! I have nothing to say to you!
    Superman: How about...goodbye. (drops him)
  • Product Placement: Anyone notice the wrecked BMW Z3 Convertible on the bridge before the Doomsday-Army/Superman Battle?
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Toyman. Unlike in the comics, this version of Winslow Schott is a willful child-murdering maniac who sees people as toys to play with and break. His first appearance involves him threatening to drop a school bus full of kids off of a rooftop, and it's later reported that he actually murdered a four-year-old girl for fun.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "My rumpus room has been outfitted with red solar lamps, and of course, Kryptonite. Red and green. The colors of Christmas. And YOU! Are ON! The NAUGHTY! LIST!!!
  • Raised Hand of Survival: A fist punches out of Superman's grave, indicating his return. Actually, it's a clone.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Superman feels bad about the fact, that with all his powers and knowledge, he still can't cure a cancer. This is contrasted directly with the Cut Lex Luthor a Check example above.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Deconstructed. Clone Superman rescues a persian cat from a tree. He has recently started to kill evildoers, and then gives a slow and frightening lecture to its owner, a very scared old lady, while caressing the kitty. During the lecture, you ask yourself if he's gonna kill the old lady, the cat, both of them or none. Finally, he just asks her to be more cautious.
  • Robo Cam: Doomsday sees the world through this.
  • Robot Buddy: Superman's Robot.
  • Scenery Censor: When Clone!Superman destroys the other clones in their growth ranks, the nearly grown ones fall with shards of glass covering their butts and crotches.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Doomsday. Lampshaded by Luthor.
    Luthor: If an alien race possessed the technology to trap that thing and use Earth as their personal toilet, they did so for one reason... They couldn't kill it.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Played with, Lois knows Superman is Clark Kent, but wants Superman to willingly tell her. However, Superman knows she already knows, but still doesn't want to admit it. He finally does admit it in the end.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot:Twice with Superman and Lois. One at the beginning when she arrives at his Fortress of Solitude after having a shower, both sharing a kiss, and their next scene together first showing a bed that looks like it has been used. The second one is near the end where they are at her apartment and he comes out of her shower.
  • Shadow Archetype: Clone!Superman is Superman raised by someone like Lex Luthor.
  • A Shared Suffering: Lois seeks out Martha Kent because while the whole world is mourning the lost of Superman, there's no-one else who will understand her grief at losing someone she loved.
  • Shooting Superman: Actually worked this time... with his evil clone. Granted, it was a kryptonite bullet.
    • Also lampshaded early on with the army, who realize exactly how stupid it is but try anyway, because they have no other choice but to.
  • Shout-Out: There's a scene of Superman (actually his clone) fighting Toyman's giant mechanical spider. This was a shot at how movie producer Jon Peters wanted a giant spider in Superman Lives, written by Kevin Smith. Smith even voices a citizen in Doomsday that remarks, "Like we needed him to take care of a giant spider."
  • The Sociopath:
    • Lex Luthor, who deliberately has cures to deadly diseases changed into lifetime treatments for his own profit, responds to accidentally unleashing Doomsday by having anybody who knows about it killed, and makes a Superman clone to use his nemesis' good publicity to take over the world.
    • Toyman, who views all the world as toys for him to break as he pleases, and murders a 4-year-old for no reason.
  • Spiteful Spit: When Lois goes up to Lex's office, seeking comfort now that Superman is gone, they begin making out, which she uses as an excuse to jab him with a syringe full of tranquilizer. As soon as he goes down, she spits on him.
  • Stock Phrases: Not quite to the point of "the universe will be destroyed including Earth", but doubled for Robo Speak.
  • Stock Scream: Wilhelm makes an brief appearance as one of the workers screaming during Doomsday's first rampage.
  • Take That!:
    • The giant robot spider is a Shout-Out to an infamous (never filmed) draft for a Superman movie.
    • To further drive the point across, Kevin Smith actually makes a cameo in Ink-Suit Actor form, commenting on how lame the giant spider was. Mr. Smith was originally forced to include a giant spider into the script of said never filmed movie by the producer.
    • The Toyman looks suspiciously similar in style to a Tim Burton character. Tim Burton was hired to direct the aforementioned script but had Smith cut out from the project.
  • Take Over the World
    Luthor: Imagine an army of Supermen policing the skies of Metropolis, the world! Upholding the Law of Luthor.
  • Take Up My Sword: A weird example: Clone Superman tells the real Superman to carry on the fight.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Luthor sees that clone Superman took out the kryptonite grenade, he sums up his situation nicely.
    Luthor: Oh, hell.
    • Then another one shortly after when Superman simply rips out the metal room he was in rather than enter it.
    • The soldiers the military sends to apprehend Clone Superman are under no illusions about how things will end for them. But they have to try anyway.
    Soldier 1: "This is insane. We can't kill Superman!"
    Soldier 2: "You're right. We can't kill Superman."
    Soldier 3 (grimly): "Dead men walking."
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: As in the comics, fighting Doomsday is one of the few exceptions Superman has ever made to his rule against killing.
  • Too Clever by Half: All of Luthor's plans to handle Clone!Superman are very smart on paper, but fail miserably in practice because of how badly Luthor underestimates the intelligence of the man he's dealing with.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: When it's revealed that Luthor cloned Superman, and essentially raised him, Clark realizes that he would've grown up to be like that had he been raised by someone like Luthor, instead of Martha and Johnathan.
  • Vigilante Execution: What Clone!Superman does to Toyman.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Clone!Superman points out that saving a cat from a tree (that only got up there due to a careless owner) might delay him getting to life-threatening disaster and admonishes the owner for not being more responsible. However, the real Superman never thought that way — as shown in All-Star Superman. The little things were as important as the larger ones, and Superman was smart enough to know when he had time to help people.
  • Villain in a White Suit: Lex Luthor spends most of the film in an all-white suit.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Clone Superman at the end just tells his real counterpart to protect Metropolis, which was his sole priority in the first place.
  • What Could Have Been: In-universe: Clark invokes this when stating that Clone Superman is himself if he were raised by Lex Luthor.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lois delivers this to Superman at the beginning of the movie. She's long ago realized that Superman is Clark Kent, but the fact that he refuses to just say it outright makes her think that's it's just a bog-standard fear of commitment. She also ties this into Superman's questionable invocation of It's Not You, It's My Enemies as a reason to keep their relationship secret—the entire city already thinks they're dating anyway.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: See Oh, Crap!
  • Withholding the Cure: Lex apparently figured out how to cure Bird Flu, AIDs and muscle dystrophy but is keeping it secret until he can make more money by creating a TREATMENT and forcing people to pay him over and over again. Superman on the other hand is despairing that he cannot find the Cure for Cancer even with his advanced Kryptonian tech.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Lex assumes that with Superman gone, Lois will be drawn to him as a powerful protector. He underestimates her, but Lois doesn't hesitate to play on it to get his guard down.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Toyman kills a 4 year old girl offscreen while taking a preschool hostage. Also Doomsday, due the whole biological imperative to kill everything.


Video Example(s):


Superman vs Doomsday

Even Superman, with his myriad of powers, is dazzled by the capability of Doomsday to shrug off every attack thrown at him, and the might of his blows.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArrogantGodVsRagingMonster

Media sources: