Superman has a superb gallery of supervillains, one that includes classics like Lex Luthor, Brainiac, General Zod, and Darkseid. And there’s one villain who’s considered his counterpart due to his incredible level of strength: Doomsday. This creature is an insane freak of the universe and has actually killed Superman in chronology.
We’ve seen him in mainstream media recently as well, which has brought the age-old question as to which one of Superman and Doomsday really is stronger. We’ve stacked these two up based on their displayed power, the way the story sets them up, and the feats they’ve displayed.
The points don’t carry the same weight, though, and you need to see the conclusion to figure out who is the real winner. For this list, we've primarily considered the base-levels of these rivals.
When it comes to pure strength – the kind where you consider these beings lifting quintillion tons – Superman still doesn’t have anything on Doomsday. Superman requires every ounce of his might and his other powers to damage Doomsday, while the latter broke the Man of Steel with his blows.
Doomsday was seen breaking Superman’s arm like it was a piece of twig and fought Supes and Orion (the son of Darkseid) at the same time; beating both of them with his sheer strength. If either of Superman and Doomsday were an option to lift weights on planetary levels, then you need to go with Doomsday.
Doomsday is no slouch in this department and once managed to catch the Flash while the Scarlet Speedster was attacking him, but that is more a case of reflexes than outright speed. Superman isn’t as fast as the Flash either, but he’s been shown to keep up with him for the most part.
Superman’s speed blitz is a power he reserves only for special occasions, as this ability is so dangerous that even the slightest touch, while he’s on super speed, can snap a person in a jiffy. When Superman’s locking horns with Doomsday, it is his speed that has been his ally in landing hits on the monster.
Since Doomsday tends to regenerate from that which once harmed him, he’s been shown to evolve abilities that protect him from the same damage. This has meant that Doomsday has grown powers of his own, but we won’t be considering them since those aren’t base-level Doomsday.
Here, Superman takes the win for the sheer number of superpowers he has. He has the speed blitz; can shoot laser beams, has ice breath, super strength, agility, and of course flight. There are other powers Superman has as well, but even the base-level Superman has more in his arsenal than Doomsday.
Superman’s undoing on many occasions has been his boy scout mentality. He never goes all-out, and even if he does, he loses his senses so much that the result is reckless rather than deadly. Doomsday has zero sense of morality or restraint, and the entire point of this character is that he’s the personification of total annihilation.
Due to Doomsday being a wrecking ball of epic proportions, there has been no survivor of Doomsday’s murderous intent. Whoever Doomsday has targeted (and he targets everybody), they’ve met their deaths, unless they’ve managed to escape. Superman barely ever goes in for the kill, and should he want to, he still can’t reach the levels of Doomsday.
Almost on every occasion, Superman has been able to defeat Doomsday, it has been because of support of either a couple or all of the Justice League. In the comics, it has become second nature to call in the league to fight Doomsday, while in mainstream media, such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Superman required his friends to weaken Doomsday.
The times when he’s beaten Doomsday off his own accord has been when Superman has also met his end simultaneously. All in all, the Justice League’s back-up has been vital for Superman to beat Doomsday. The monster himself has no back-up of his own, which has meant he falls to the Justice League eventually, handing Superman the win.
Yes, plot armor needs to be considered between these two. There have been numerous times where Superman should be killed, but he walks away because the plot asks for it. In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman survived Darkseid’s killer Omega Beams by using a rock as a shield – which made no sense since the beams can turn anything into ash.
In Justice League’s DCAU incarnation, Superman defeated Doomsday by lobotomizing him through his heat vision, which also doesn’t add up seeing as Doomsday’s skull was supposed to be impenetrable. Doomsday’s defeats have also been caused by plot armor working against him, as he is denied the victory because he’s the villain.
Do we even need to list feats for this one? Doomsday might be a force of nature, but he’s an absolute idiot in almost every version we’ve seen of him. One of the smarter ones is the one in DCAU’s Justice League, and even he wasn’t exactly a genius.
Superman isn’t Bruce Wayne level of smart, but he’s a very intelligent man nonetheless. When fighting his opponents, he scouts for their weakness once he realizes he can’t just punch his way to victory. On one occasion, Superman trapped Doomsday in the Phantom Zone, after he realized there was no way of killing this being; this showed him using his smarts to end the threat rather than fight in vain.
Maybe this one should go to Doomsday since he never really loses, but we’re going to keep this as a tie because of the multitude of beings Superman has beaten. Doomsday can’t even come close to Superman’s number of victories because he hasn’t faced that many opponents – he’s the villain, which limits his appearances.
However, the fact that Doomsday beat Darkseid of all beings is enormous! Superman often needs lady luck on his side to beat Darkseid and has lost more times, making this a point in Doomsday’s favor. As Supes has faced and beaten more, we’ll be splitting this one down the middle.
This victory is such, that Doomsday gets infinity amounts of points. Even though Superman is near-indestructible, he can still die and has an easy weakness in Kryptonite. Doomsday, on the other hand, will never die permanently. That’s right, his resistance level is such that, whatever damage he absorbs, Doomsday will come back and be totally immune to it.
If somehow Doomsday managed to die, he’s going to come back and you can’t harm him with the same move again. This means essentially every fight against Doomsday is in vain, as he’ll just return and render all the previous efforts meaningless. His durability is unmatched and Superman (nor anyone) has anything to go against it.
What? Superman got more points, then why is Doomsday the victor? That would be because of the previous point. As we said, Superman’s efforts are of no use when everything is for naught, since Doomsday’s durability means he’s guaranteed to come back. You could argue that throwing him into places like the Phantom Zone means he’s lost, but Battlefield Removals are a lazy excuse.
When it comes to pure power – something that includes strength, agility, and all the accompanying tools – Doomsday’s resistance is simply too astounding to enable Superman to do any lasting damage. This leaves us with the clear winner in Doomsday. At least Superman has the Justice League to help him out.