This period attempts to show what it is like in America without Steve Rogers. The story starts with Captain America # 26, where Skrulls, (Valentina, and Dum Dum Dugan), appear, and after the wake of pro-registration, and the anti-registration factions, it sinks in that it is now a world without Steve Rogers. In this world, Winter Soldier concludes who it is who benefits if Rogers dies, and the answer is Tony Stark. Sharon Carter observes that Steve's body has degraded, and it is probably because the power dampened around his neck weakened his system before he died. The Red Skull, as General Lukin (I was going to say Putin), were going to a meeting with the Secretary of the Treasury. Now that Captain America was not in the world, the Red Skull could move with impunity in circles around Washington DC. Already it was a time where without Steve Rogers, the world began to turn in another direction. WS decided to play the blame game, and the New Avengers just realized that the assassination of Captain America was an inside job. A lot of the loose threads left over from New Avengers # 1, now were free to roam at will, because without Captain America, (which Tony Stark had accomplished), it freed up a tension the world had because Cap was around. It was surprising how much the MU depended on Cap being there. While Cap was in the world, Tony Starks plans for the Initiative could never run smoothly. Because even alive in custody, Caps influence would have made Stark look over his shoulder to make sure Cap couldn't complain about it. With Cap dead, Stark didn't have to answer to Steve Rogers for anything he decides.
Sharon Carter and the Falcon are the first two people to acknowledge that there was something wrong, later to be joined with James Barnes own apprehension and response. These are the 3 people that are so close to Steve Rogers, that they feel the loss more than anybody else because Steve was present all the time in their lives.