Its quite a heavy move, brutally portrayed (shot in the stomach by his hypnotised girlfirend) and a natural conclusion to the very cool civil war idea.
Apparently Quesda, JMS, Millar and Wheldon had this whole arc planned out two years ago. (yes, it seems JMS has the Marvel boys thinking in arcs...) so you can't put it down to political headline grabbing. Its just telling a good story, but you can read what you like into it.
I'm a Brit, but I can see how both the left and right in the US read different things into Steve Rogers. As with Civil War, th eleft can see him as the emodiment of all the freedoms the US is in danger of loosing, whilst the right see him as a much needed patriotic figurehead.
Anyhow, no-one dies forever in comics. I expect Frank Castle to become the next Captian America, until Steve R gets brought back...
Would it be a bit too Spider-Man/Sheridanish to suggest that Captain America's powers somehow restore him to life? That the formula (isn't that the source of his powers), alters his cellular structure in an as yet latent manner.
It probably won't be the case because they've already done it with spidey. I do think that there is a deliberately political message in there. As with all things... the headline is merely the attention getter. How we get there is the more important and interesting part of the story.
Typical casual comic reader will probably go "OMG they are killing the Cap!" and will reconnect with that hero to find out what happens. In following the lengthy story, they will be exposed to the political subtext.
I didnt know that was going to happen. Ive been trying to keep up with the Civil War stuff the last few months. But I just have this feeling that they might hit a galactic reset button of sorts. And I only say that because one issue showed Dr. Strange in seclusion and the Watcher was with him. The Watcher asked Strange why he didnt do anything as he had the power to stop the entire thing. But I could be wrong of course.
I like Cap. He's always been an interesting character to me even though I haven't read that much of him. If he dies I wonder who will replace him?