"Captain America: LIVES!" is post-peak for Brubaker's run but is not light on its fair share of entertainment and thrilling conflict. Sharon Carter discovers Steve is alive, sent into a living hell instead of actually being killed because, well... supervillains tend to do stupid things like this. Actually, that's not fair. Red Skull has a motive for keeping Rogers alive (in a sense,) and it leads to a heck of a fight. Had to get "Cap vs. Cap" out of the way quick.
Bucky's time with the shield is far from over at this point as he battles ghosts from the past both in his new and old guise. One of the villains who turns up is Batroc the Leaper, the guy that Georges St. Pierre played on the big screen. This was the first time I'd ever seen Batroc portrayed as anything other than a joke in the comics, and Brubaker pulls it off. Batroc may be goofy, but he's still dangerous and it's nice to see a reminder of that.
Still, I can't shake the feeling that Bucky got the shaft here. He kept the shield for a while, but everyone knew it was only a matter of time until it was Steve's again. Again, I prefer Bucky as the Winter Soldier but his role in the big scheme of things has been greatly reduced since his demotion.
I know this review doesn't appear overwhelmingly positive, but that's really for fear of spoilers. "Captain America: LIVES!" is still a very good collection of stories with some dazzling art by the likes of Bryan Hitch and Gene Colan among many others. I don't think it's as strong as what's come before it from Brubaker, but it is definitely up to his high standard.