DC Comics' M.I.A. heroes
In September 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire company and universe dropping all existing titles and replacing them with 52 new ongoing books.
This “New 52” revamped many of DC's most popular heroes such as the Justice League, the Legion of Superheroes, etc. for a younger generation of readers. Five months or so later, DC added another round of six more titles to the New 52, expanding their new world and adding characters and teams like the Justice Society, the Phantom Stranger, and Doctor Fate.
Even so, this new DCU is lacking many cult favorites and classics that some long time DC readers sorely miss. Among these missing heroes are teams like the Freedom Fighters and the Doom Patrol. DC did publish a mini-series re-introducing Dollman and Phantom Lady of the Freedom Fighters last year that set the stage for the Freedom Fighters' return but have yet to follow up on it.
As to the Doom Patrol, the team's leader, Robotman, joined the heroes in the New 52 universe in the pages of a series titled “My Greatest Adventures,” which was a reboot of the old school title where the Doom Patrol first appeared in the 1960s. However, during Robotman's run in that series, there was no mention of Negative Man or Elasti-Girl.
Doom Patrol was one of DC's most odd and cult titles. The Doom Patrol series of the old universe was just hitting its stride as the New 52 replaced everything. As yet, DC has yet to explain anything pertaining to the fates of Elasti-girl and Negative Man, much less reform the team.
Other missing characters of note include Adam Strange, Warlord, and Wally West. To me personally, the lack of Wally West almost feels like a crime committed against diehard Flash fans. Though I am old enough to have read the end of Barry Allen's run as the Flash as a child, Wally was the Flash that many of today's adult readers grew up with.
He was in many ways a much deeper character than Barry as well. Wally had a family, a wife and two children. He was the epitome of the average guy who just happened to have powers. There are rumors of his return but will DC be able to pull it off in a way that does justice to the fans and the character?
Still, with a lot of the cult characters DC has returned since the beginning of the New 52, they've done a competent job so perhaps there is hope seeing more return with cool reboots that please both old school fans and new readers alike.