"This came about when I found out that Cap was going to get assassinated in Cap #25," Loeb told CBR News. "I wanted the character to be remembered by fandom and by the characters in the Marvel Universe."
Each of the five issues corresponds to one of the five stages of grief: denial (Wolverine), anger (New Avengers), bargaining (Captain America), depression (Spider-Man) and acceptance (Iron Man). "The idea to do it that way came from JM Straczynski at the creative retreat last Christmas," Loeb said. "As soon as he said it, I saw the finished comics." Loeb, who tragically lost his 17-year-old son Sam in 2005 to cancer, is no stranger to the process of grief and this series has been informed in no small part by his all-too recent personal tragedy.
Death, in mainstream comics, has more often than not turned out to be a revolving door. But as to the prospect of the late Steve Rogers returning from the grave, Loeb said only: "I wrote 'Fallen Son' about what happens after a person dies. I don't live in a world where people come back after they are gone." Marvel EIC Joe Quesada confirms that in Rogers' case, dead means dead, but that someone else will indeed be taking up the mantle of Captain America. "That will be dealt with (with or without success) in 'Fallen Son' #3," Loeb promised.
Loeb is joined by an impressive array of artists for "Fallen Son." Wolverine's denial will be penciled by Leinil Yu. The anger of the New Avengers will be rendered by Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines. John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson help Cap's supporting cast through the bargaining phase. David Finch will put a face on Spidey's depression in the wake of his friend's passing. And lastly, John Cassaday draws Iron Man coming to terms with his part in the tragedy. "But the truth is, 'Acceptance' has to do with the entire Marvel Universe. It's why Cassaday was the perfect artist. He can draw everyone and make it cool."
"They are my partners," Loeb said of his collaborators. "We talk all the time, we communicate via email. I wrote those scripts specifically for them, hopefully leaning toward their strengths. Nobody's complained yet, so I think we succeeded! I think the artistic efforts from the teams is nothing short of extraordinary."
Loeb, whose background is in film and television, provides each artists with a full script. "I only know how to write full script," Loeb admitted. "In fact, I work from a program for television scripts. It makes it easier when I'm done with my work at 'Heroes,' that I don't have to learn another program!
"So the artists get full descriptions of every panel, and dialogue (that I will sometimes change to reflect the artwork better) for every scene," Loeb continued. "I try and give the artist as complete a picture as I can. And since I can't draw, I'm very much in their hands.
"I had a real sense of completion at DC," said Loeb of his return to the House of Ideas. "I had made a commitment to launch and then finish 25 issues of 'Superman/Batman,' launch 'Supergirl' (#1-5), 12 issues of 'Batman: Hush' and six issues of 'Catwoman: When In Rome' and I'm thrilled with the success each one of those projects brought me, my teams and DC. After 'Superman/Batman' #26 [on which he collaborated with his dear-departed son] it was time to move on. But nothing is forever. I've left DC before and I will return I'm sure to those characters someday."
Loeb is certainly keeping busy. In addition to "Fallen Son," he's still working on his "Wolverine" arc with Simone Bianchi, "Onslaught: Reborn" with Rob Liefield, "Ultimates 3 and 4" with Joe Madueira and Ed McGuinness respectively, a Hulk project with McGuinness and a Spidey project with J. Scott Campbell. All this on top of his job at NBC's "Heroes." "It gets a little roller-coastery at times," Loeb said. "But my editors at Marvel understand the commitment that I've made to 'Heroes' (and it helps that they are fans!)."
Look for "Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America: Wolverine" to show up on stands this April.