Explaining That Monster at the End of Batman v Superman

Mar 27, 2016

Correction appended, March 28

Spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ahead

Batman and Superman may have their differences, but by the end of Dawn of Justice, the two heroes (and even Wonder Woman) are forced to unite against a common enemy: Doomsday.

If you're not a comic book fan, there's a chance you didn't even catch Doomsday's name. The only allusion to it is when Lex Luthor proclaims to Superman that the monster is "your doomsday" with a lowercase "d." In the film, Doomsday doesn't survive the night, but he has a robust presence in the Superman comics. Here's what you need to know:

Warner Bros. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, center, in [object Object] . Warner Bros. 

Doomsday is one of the few villains to equal Superman's strength

Superman is an alien with superhuman powers, which means many of his foes cannot match him and instead rely on technology or tricks to trip up the Man of Steel. Not so for Doomsday, who was created—at least in the comics—on Krypton and equals Superman in strength. In fact, he kills Superman in a storyline dubbed, "The Death of Superman." (More on that later.)

Doomsday, an unthinking creature, is hellbent on killing everyone and everything in his path. He is a massive blob monster with bones protruding from his body.

MORE Here’s What You Probably Missed in Batman v Superman

He has a different creator in the comics

In Batman v Superman, Lex Luthor creates Doomsday using his own DNA, that of the dead General Zod (an alien from Krypton you may remember as the bad guy from Man of Steel) and Kryptonian technology. But this origin diverges from the comic books.

Warner Bros. Michael Shannon as General Zod in [object Object] . Warner Bros.  

In the comics, Doomsday was born during prehistoric times on Krypton. An alien scientist named Bertron conducted a series of cruel experiments on a humanoid infant in which it is killed over and over again until it evolved into Doomsday (then known as The Ultimate). Doomsday eventually kills Bertron. He's nicknamed Doomsday by the media after he comes to earth.

Meet All the Actors Who Have Played Batman and Robin

Lewis Wilson And Douglas Croft In 'Batman'
VIEW GALLERY | 12 PHOTOS
Lewis Wilson was the first actor to play Batman on screen, with Douglas Croft joining him as the first Robin in the 1943 film Batman.Columbia Pictures—Getty Images
Lewis Wilson And Douglas Croft In 'Batman'
MBDNEAD EC016
BATMAN AND ROBIN
Adam West in Batman
Batman And Robin
MCDBARE EC003
M2DBAFO EC002
MSDBAAN EC024
MCDDAKN EC079
Lego Batman
Lewis Wilson was the first actor to play Batman on screen, with Douglas Croft joining him as the first Robin in the 1943
... VIEW MORE

Columbia Pictures—Getty Images
1 of 12

He doesn't share DNA with General Zod in the comics—but does in Smallville

The movie shows Lex Luthor mixing his own blood with that of General Zod to create the monster in the Genesis Chamber of the Kryptonian spaceship that crashed in Man of Steel.

Warner Bros. The planet Krypton in [object Object] . Warner Bros.  

For those who skipped Man of Steel, the Genesis Chamber is used to create beings. By destroying the ship in Man of Steel, Superman (presumably) throws away any chance he had of creating more of his race.

Given the damage to that ship, it's unclear how Doomsday is created. The Kryptonian science behind General Zod's transformation goes largely unexplained in Batman v Superman.

In the comic books, Doomsday is created long before General Zod is even born. However, Doomsday does share blood with General Zod in Smallville, the TV show about Superman's early years.

MORE Wonder Woman’s Epic Introduction Is Undercut by a Perpetually Helpless Lois Lane

Doomsday killed several Green Lanterns in the comics

Before Superman crossed paths with Doomsday, the monster took out several Green Lanterns—superheroes who transfer power through rings—in the comic books.

Doomsday "kills" Superman

It will probably come as no surprise to comic book fans that Superman's fight with Doomsday ends with his "death" at the end of the film. (We can presume from the levitating dirt above his coffin in the final shot that the Man of Steel will return just in time for the Justice League films.) After all, Doomsday is best known as the monster who kills Superman in "The Death of Superman." The two characters confront each other in front of the Daily Planet building in Superman's home city of Metropolis and beat each other to death.

But Doomsday didn't die

After Superman's death, four super-beings appeared, two of whom claimed to be the real Superman. One of them strapped the apparently lifeless body of Doomsday to an asteroid and flung it into deep space. Doomsday, however, awoke from his slumber and survived (though chained to the asteroid).

Neither did Superman

He returned to life too because—come on—he's Superman. Here's how.

So they faced off again

Superman took on the "resurrected" Doomsday in space. Though he could not defeat the creature, he was able to use a time travel device to leave Doomsday at the End of Time. There, Doomsday was defeated by entropy. (Yes, really.)

Doomsday shows up again in other storylines (thanks to time travel devices), including joining the ranks of the Suicide Squad before slaughtering them all. But don't expect him to show up in the August Suicide Squad movie. The beast seems dead, at least for now.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described Smallville. It was a TV show about Superman's early years.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.