Tonight's trailer for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live, featured the first big-screen appearance not only of Wonder Woman, but of another character of some note in the DC Universe.
That would be Doomsday, the monster who killed Superman back in 1992's Superman #75.
Created by Dan Jurgens, Doomsday was introduced almost by accident.
In the early '90s, the Superman family of titles -- there were four of them at the time, meaning there was a new Superman solo comic almost every week -- were tightly interconnected, and so there used to be creative summits to help chart the direction of the titles and to determine what the year's big stories would be.
In 1992, the whole year was going to be building toward the wedding of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. The pair had been engaged since Superman #50, and (depending on who you ask) were set to be married in either Superman #75 or The Adventures of Superman #500, due out a few months later.
When Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was ordered to series, Warner Bros. asked DC to hold off publishing the wedding story until they could plan it to coincide with the wedding on the TV show. That meant radically reworking the plans for the year's comics.
The various writers and artists working on the series at the time brought in their pitches, and Doomsday was Jurgens's. He wanted a bombastic, widescreen slugfest the likes of which the best-selling Marvel and Image Comics of the day were publishing. The rest of the creative team -- fearing a big battle would not be a great showcase for strong storytelling -- were skeptical but ultimately were won over. Soon, the plan was clear: Superman would battle a rampaging monster to the death...and die.
That story became a pop culture phenomenon, and the best-selling collected edition in DC's history. The "Funeral For a Friend" and "Reign of the Supermen" stories that followed it were equally well-received by readers at the time and continue to be solid sellers for DC years later.
But that, predictably, wasn't the last we would see of Doomsday.
First of all, when the characer was introduced, he was essentially a force of nature. Drawing fairly obvious comparisons to the Incredible Hulk, Doomsday was violence incarnate, and tore a swath across the Eastern United States before dying alongside Superman in front of the Daily Planet building.
Like Superman, though, Doomsday returned. Luckily for everyone in Metropolis, he had been tossed out into space on an asteroid by then, but when he revived he ended up on Apokolips, where he battled Darkseid.
It was revealed that Doomsday was a Kryptonian genetic experiment, created centuries before humanoid Kryptonians would come to dominate the planet and essentially forced to evolve by generations of rapid cloning, torture, death, and re-cloning at the hands of an alien called Bertron.
Bertron, it should be noted, got mentioned on the Man of Steel Blu-ray special features.
Over thousands of years, the creature that would eventually become known as Doomsday fought and killed its way around the universe; it would be killed, and then evolve past whatever had killed it, unable to be destroyed in the same way twice. Eventually, after defeating it, an alien race had bound the alien as tightly as it could and then blasted it into space. The giant metal container in which Doomsday was held would eventually hit prehistoric Earth and bury itself miles underground -- only to be discovered when the monster awoke, smashed its way out, trashed the Justice League and killed Superman.
After its battle with Darkseid, Doomsday would resurface every so often -- most notably in a battle where his mind was briefly inhabited by Brainiac, creating essentially the perfect Superman villain. It was Doomsday itself that eventually forced the invading consciousness out.
At one point, a revived Doomsday was used as a weapon by Lex Luthor against an invading alien called Imperiex; following the defeat of Imperiex, Doomsday would gain some kind of sentience and consciousness for a time. It would aid Superman in a battle against Gog, and after another death would square off with the Kryptonians of Kandor during the New Krypton storyline.
After that death, Doomsday returned one final time before Flashpoint rebooted the DC Universe, targeting Superman and a number of his allies and adversaries strategically in an effort to become the most powerful being in the universe.
In the alternate universe of Flashpoint, Doomsday had been discovered by the U.S. government and was being used as a living weapon, its rudimentary mind controlled by a helmet broadcasting a signal from the Department of Defense. When Doomsday -- called "Project Six" -- went rogue, he was stopped by the main DC Earth's Booster Gold -- ironically the hero who had named him "Doomsday" prior to his killing Superman.
Post-Flashpoint DC Universe, Doomsday's origins are unknown; he attacked Krypton and was repelled by Colonel (later General) Zod, who hurled the beast into the Phantom Zone. When he evolved past the Phantom Zone and made his way to Earth, he targeted the last Kryptonian, Superman, and Superman was forced to kill (we assume) Doomsday by hurling him into a black hole.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters March 25, 2016.