I admit I was worried going into this issue. I remember what happened last time Brubaker did a mainstream team book, the debacle that was his Shi'ar run on Uncanny X-Men. When his X-Men miniseries "Deadly Genesis" was poorly received, his defense was that the story was laid out when he got there, like Obama and the deficit. His 13-issue run on the main title would be better, he said, because he would have control. But it stunk. Looking back, I don't know why I was worried at all, because I should know by now that Brubaker knows Steve Rogers better than Sharon Carter does. And if Ed is forming a team of ultimate baddasses, with Super Soldier Steve Rogers leading, it's gonna have the his signature punchy dialog, twisty plots, and fast-paced espionage that sometimes makes you want to skip over the art so you can find out what happens next.
For kicking off his series, Brubaker does that trick of showing you how Rogers got everyone to work for him, like Bendis did in that first arc of Mighty Avengers. Whereas Bendis took an arc to do it, and mixed it with a female Ultron robot story, Brubaker got it out of the way in issue one, and already setup some cool mythology and a villain we know nothing about, or if the villain--the Shadow Council--is villainous at all. The final page alone is worth the price of admission, and since a lot of the team members are secondary characters in other books, I'm hoping that they continue to feel fresh, like Falcon does in the regular Captain America series.
A gripe 'cause I gotta: Deodato's art is for the most part clear and concise, but in a few panels too many heroes are standing in the hero pose, with their legs spread really far apart, like they're about to play a huge power chord in "Won't Get Fooled Again." Do heroes really stand like that all the time, even when they're just hangin' around a computer?