Well, you are right about the cynicism where change is concerned. Mighty God King once wrote a bit on his blog about Civil War and all the changes that came from it, and the fact that just about every one was reversed. Steve Rogers came back from the dead and became Captain America again, Iron Man got four years of his memory wiped and his status quo was returned to a pre-CW point. The Act was repealed, and I think the only long running consequence was Bill Foster dying. Most sickening aspect for me? Avengers Prime, where Stark, Rogers and Thor all kissed and made up. It is, hands down, one of the worst comics I ever read. I'm glad I checked it out of the library and did not spend money on that crap.
Hitch was the wrong guy for this series. I remember the first work I saw him do was Storm Watch (I think that was him on Ellis' Storm Watch) and The Authority. The man is best used by illustrating huge blockbuster like action pieces.
Mark Millar (Who wrote it.) did not intend for Cap to die in the event. He had something else planned for him, something stupid from what I remember. He was going to de-power him and have him go back in time or something. Ed Brubaker was the one who wanted to kill him. And yes, I agree with you, I don't buy Stark and Steve being friends anymore after that. I still don't see the two of them getting past that so fast.