Yes, Commander A, as well as Broad Stripe and Bright Star, are new characters introduced in this series.
The latest issue was awesome. I didn't expect either what Sharon did nor what became of Ian, but I see some interesting stuff showing up in the future.
Gotta admit, though, I'm looking forward to what happens next. I was ready for this story to be complete. "Escape from Dimension Z" hit me like a hammer from the first issue, and the art was incredible, but I'm ready to move on back in the 616.
I dropped this title after the second issue into the new direction, but I've been considering giving it a second look after the return to 616. How about posting a few SPOILERS for what you're alluding to above?