And in the case of some characters, they appear to have been eliminated from continuity altogether. This feature explores the major players of the DCU who are either dead or nonexistent after the relaunch.
Bear in mind that there's still a great deal we don't know about the new continuity. Some of these deaths are confirmed, while others are based on whatever circumstantial evidence is available at the moment. We'll be updating this list in the future as more is revealed and new books continue to launch.
Status: Probably Never Existed
A certain Scarlet Speedster is nowhere to be seen in the new DCU. Even before the relaunch, Wally West had been relegated to the backseat in lieu of his newly returned uncle. The promised Wally West backup feature in the pages of Flash never materialized, nor did the rumored second Flash series that would have starred the entire roster of speedsters.
So far, at least, the Flash family looks to have been paired down to two members – Barry and Bart Allen. With the focus on making their iconic heroes younger and more relatable, and with Barry no longer being married to Iris West, it may simply not be in DC's best interests to provide Barry with an adult nephew.
We're hoping we're wrong on this one, and that Wally is merely continuing the extended sabbatical he's been on since the end of Flash: Rebirth. But until we see evidence otherwise, we fear this former Flash may have run out of road.
Status: Never Existed
Perhaps the most well known hero to carry the name Blue Beetle, Ted Kord's murder at the hands of Maxwell Lord kicked off the events that led to Infinite Crisis and inspired a number of major DC stories in the years since. However, the revamped origin of current Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes completely disregards Infinite Crisis and suggests that Jaime is Earth's first and only Blue Beetle. Nor is Ted a member of the revamped Justice League International alongside his good friend Booster Gold.
Fans of Ted Kord may have to satisfy themselves with the Earth-4 version of the character that will appear in Grant Morrison's Multiversity next year.
Status: Possibly Dead
The former GCPD officer and successor to the mantle of the Question is caught in a curious state of limbo with the relaunch. Renee has yet to appear in any real form. On the contrary, evidence in Batwoman #1 suggests she may have been killed off as part of the relaunch. Renee's photograph can be seen on a plaque in the halls of the GCPD. This plaque seems to be honoring fallen police officers. Not only does this suggest Renee was killed in the line of duty, it would mean she never quit the force and became the Question in the first place. However, Renee is also shown in a montage of Batman, Inc. members in Batwoman #2.
The signs are conflicting so far. And indeed, part of the problem may be that J.H. Williams had begun planning and drawing Batwoman long before the relaunch fully solidified. But if the signs in Batwoman #1 are to be believed, Renee is dead. What does that mean for the current state of Vic Sage?
Professor Martin Stein is a bit of an oddity as far as the relaunch is concerned. He was recently killed in the pages of Brightest Day. Then he was brought back as Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver overhauled Firestorm continuity for their new series. Once again, Stein was cast as the brilliant inventor of the Firestorm Matrix, a device which has taken on a new form.
However, Stein was almost immediately killed again in The Fury of Firestorm #1, which means he'll never be teaming with Ronnie Raymond as he did in the old days.
Or will he? A graffiti tag in Batgirl #2 reads, "Professor Stein is alive." The character has already been killed, resurrected, and killed again in short order. What's one more resurrection among friends?
Jenny Sparks was already dead prior to the relaunch, but that hasn't prevented her role in Stormwatch and The Authority from changing. Like fellow Century Baby Elijah Snow, Jenny was a superhuman born on January 1, 1900 and destined to live and die with the new century. When the year 2000 dawned, she died and was replaced by her 21st Century counterpart, Jenny Quantum.
Unfortunately, time always marches on in the real world regardless of how DC's comics unfold. Jenny Quantum is a current member of Stormwatch. But because the heroes of the new DCU have only been around for five or six years, it's become impossible for Jenny Sparks to have served as a member of the modern incarnation of the team. It stands to reason she still existed, but her previous appearances no longer hold, and her overall importance to the franchise has been greatly reduced.
Status: Possibly Never Existed
Sidekicks seem to be the demographic hit hardest by the relaunch. The problem with condensing DC history to a five-year period is that it leaves little room for multiple generation of sidekicks. Unless you're Batman, in which case the rules are too sacred to apply to you.
We don't know for sure that the original Aqualad is written out of continuity, but the signs don't look good. The new Teen Titans series appears to be a complete reboot, skipping over the classic Silver Age and 1980's incarnations of the team. Meanwhile, Geoff Johns has confirmed that new Aqualad Jackson Hyde will be appearing in Aquaman eventually. There may not be enough room for two Aqualads in the DCU, and if that's the case, it's clear which one will be given the ax.
At the very least, don't expect Garth to be be coming back to life after his death in Blackest Night.
Fans of Ryan Choi were less than thrilled with the character's death after Final Crisis. Luckily, Choi was granted a reprieve for the reboot, and he's back in action as The Atom. However, this seems to have come at the cost of the other Atom's career. Ray Palmer is still alive and well in the new DCU, but he no longer numbers among the costumed crowd.
Palmer is a supporting character in the ranks of S.H.A.D.E. He still invented the shrinking technology that gives Atom his powers, but he seems content to remain on the sidelines while heroes like Choi and Frankenstein battle evil head-on.
Status: Possibly Dead/Never Existed
Current Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders "died" at the end of Brightest Day. Or more accurately, she transformed into an air elemental and became forever isolated from her lover Hawkman. Hawkman is still very much without a female companion in his new series. But whether that's because Hawkgirl is still "dead" or because she was written out of continuity remains unclear.
DC has been selective in which portions of Brightest Day remain in continuity. The material involving Swamp Thing and Deadman seems to still hold sway, while many other pieces of the story were eliminated. But whether Kendra is dead, transformed, or eliminated, the role of Hawkgirl is one that has been passed down many times. Sooner or later a heroine will step up to wear the wings.
Status: Never Existed
Holly Robinson was introduced in Batman: Year One as a fellow prostitute and junior sidekick of sorts to Selina Kyle. She briefly took over for Selina as Catwoman during the One Year Later period, and had a starring role in the weekly series Countdown to Final Crisis.
Not anymore. Judd Winick has confirmed that Holly has been written out of the Catwoman mythos, as she no longer fits with the direction DC is taking the character. But at least she lives on through her appearance in the animated version of Year One. And with Selina appearing in The Dark Knight Rises, there's always the possibility of Holly making a live-action debut too.
One of the ways Superman is being returned to his Golden Age roots with the relaunch is by making him a true orphan again. Contrary to the way Clark has been portrayed for decades, his human parents are no more alive than his Kryptonian ones.
As seen in Action Comics, the Kents died sometime before Clark came to Metropolis and began his transformation into Superman. Compare that to the state of Superman's world a few months ago, when the character was mourning the recent death of Pa Kent at the hands of Brainiac, and Ma Kent was very much alive. With no parents and his marriage being wiped out of existence, Superman has become quite the loner.
Speedy (Mia) & Connor Hawke
Status: Possibly Never Existed
As mentioned, the new DC timeline leaves less room for heroes to have multiple generations of sidekicks. That goes double for Green Arrow. We know that Speedy is still around, albeit in a younger form. Oliver Queen was also significantly de-aged for the relaunch. So while the status of Queen's son Connor hasn't been confirmed, it seems doubtful he could still be the father of an adult superhero. Nor does it seem likely that he would have found time for a second Speedy. Ollie has a new supporting cast now, and that leaves these two archers out of the battle for Star City.
WildC.A.T.s & Gen13
Status: Never Existed
The various teams and heroes of the Wildstorm universe were folded into the DCU at the end of Flashpoint. However, of those, only Stormwatch/The Authority have made the transition largely intact. Neither the WildC.A.T.s nor Gen 13 seem to exist in this new universe. Instead, only isolated members are now active.
Both Voodoo and Grifter have their own solo books, with their histories more or less wiped clean. Meanwhile, Caitlin Fairchild can be seen in books like Superboy and Teen Titans as a researcher at N.O.W.H.E.R.E. However, this version of Fairchild lacks the superhuman abilities of the classic version.
It's probably safe to say that DC will eventually bring back these teams when the time is right. But don't expect previous continuity to hold any sway here.
Secret Six & Suicide Squad
Another pair of closely connected teams have been radically overhauled by the relaunch. There is still a Suicide Squad in the New 52, but the membership is far different. The series is currently showcasing the first incarnation of Task Force X in the new DC continuity. Long-term members like Rick Flag and Bronze Tiger are nowhere to be seen, and currently there's no indication if they'll join the team, or if they even exist now.
As far as the Six go, it's hard to say. Deadshot and King Shark have made the jump over to Suicide Squad. The rest of the core team members – Bane, Scandal, Jeanette, Knockout, Ragdoll, and Catman – are still MIA in the new DCU. Based on the way the series ended and the arrival of The Dark Knight Rises next year, it's safe to assume there are plans in the works for Bane. But the series finale also left the possibility open that the other members were killed in battle with the JLA.
Gail Simone has hinted that there may still be plans for the Six in the New 52. Hopefully that means the entire team will be back, but until they are, we'll be worried about the fate of this lovable bunch of killers and madmen.