..so I can't agree with you there--it's definitely novelistic in style and really one longgggggggg story instead of multiple related arcs. I think it's great, and it's a mature and wonderful use of Faustus, Arim Zola, the Serpent Squad, the Skull, Sharon Carter (who's pregnant with Stve's baby and is about to have an abortion forced upon her!), a Sleeper robot awakened, the Black Widow, Bucky, the Falcon....what's not to like!
In a sense, this 'mature,' novelistic story is what Bendis is trying to do and failing to do with the abyssmal New Avengers.
I do agree that Brubaker is one heck of a writer who truly pulls off his twists and turns and whatnot. And he's doing wonders with the Red Skull, surely. I just have this problem with the Red Skull being behind everything in his run and with him never getting any comeupance anytime soon. A three-plus year story is just too long for me. Now, if Bru peppered his run with other stories unrelated to the Red Skull -- like a story with the Flag-Smasher or with the Leader or with the Hatemonger or with the Viper/Madame Hydra, etc., then I wouldn't be bothered as much. Alas....