For information about the general details of this title, refer to the background section of Captain America (Vol. 5) #23.
The United States government recently passed the Superhuman Registration Act, requiring anyone displaying "more than human" abilities to turn themselves over, disclose their identity, and be trained in the proper use of their powers. Anyone not complying would be considered a criminal and imprisoned.
The Marvel heroes went to war with other: some believing that this was a reasonable request and signed up. Others, most notably Captain America (Steve Rogers) saw this as a violation of basic human rights and went underground. During the climactic battle between Pro and Anti-Registration factions, Cap surrendered to the government to end the senseless violence. See Civil War for more details.
In the aftermath, Tony Stark (Iron Man) has accepted the position of Director of SHIELD in the hopes that he can prevent this from happening again.
While on his way to his arraignment, he was shot by a sniper's bullet. This did not kill him; rather set him up for his point-blank execution by a brainwashed Sharon Carter. At the end of last issue, Sharon discovered her role in Cap's death and has been unable to cope with this.
Five days ago: Sharon confronts Tony in front of a secured room demanding to know why he ordered Steve's body removed from the hospital. Tony attempts to dissuade her from pursuing this, but she will not listen.
Tony shows her Steve's remains. He has reverted to his pre-super soldier appearance. According to Tony, the effects of the serum have somehow reversed upon his death; they are unable to explain why, but are running some tests.
Sharon takes out the rage she feels at herself on Tony, accusing him of being responsible for this. Tony defends his position, stating that it's killing him to see Steve like this. Sharon slaps him across the face and resigns.
Today: Sharon and Val arrive at the super-hero wake for Captain America in a local bar. Captain America was buried at Arlington earlier today. They are greeted by Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Rick Jones, both of which were Cap's partner at one point.
The presence of many of the pro-registration heroes overwhelms her and she excuses herself to the ladies' room. As she stares into the mirror, the words of Synthia Schmitt (the daughter of the Red Skull) echo in her mind. The post- hypnotic phrase "Dr. Faustus says remember" caused her to recall that she was a sleeper agent that put the final bullets in Steve. She begins to sob uncontrollably.
At his hideout, the Red Skull is pleased with the events he has set into motion. As he walks around the facility he encounters Faustus, who had deduced that the Skull is currently sharing his mind with someone else (Aleksander Lukin) - a secret he has long tried to protect. As they exchange their desire to kill the other, Arnim Zola arrives, eager to report the progress he has made on his project. Zola was hired by the Skull to reverse-engineer Doom's temporal device.
Later on the Falcon meets up with the "Secret Avengers", which consist of non-registered superhumans consisting of Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Ronin, and others for their wake. They can't appear in public since they'd be arrested on the spot. Cage is irritated at Sam for registering, thinking he sold out. Sam responds that he only did so that Steve would have at least one real friend at his funeral. He mentions that he requested Tony give him Harlem to protect and leave him alone.
In the middle of their toast, Sam receives a page from Nick Fury, instructing him to pick up Bucky. Distressed at the death of his friend, he starts a bar fight when a patron challenges the decision to bury him in Arlington. "It's for war heroes, not traitors". In no time flat, Bucky has beaten up everyone that agreed with that assessment.
Sam arrives to retrieve him before the police arrive. As they leave he watches a replay of Tony's speech at the funeral. Believing that he - more than anyone else - was responsible for Steve's death, he resolves to kill Tony.
Brubaker has pulled off one of the most controversial resurrections of all-time with Bucky. For many years he was one of the few characters that actually stayed dead. Not only is he back, but he's an interesting character. I never thought that I'd be saying that, but it's true.
Whatever the Skull has planned involves time travel somehow. Whatever he has planned, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next.
3.5 webs. Another great issue. The major appeal of this series is (for me) its consistency. It delivers some of the best crafted stories every issue and shows no signs of stopping.
Again, nothing "major" in this issue, just lots of well-integrated sub- plots.