I don't even know how to describe this issue. It's like "The Road" meets the "Starship Troopers." It's maybe the most exciting issue that I've read all year.
In this issue, we meet Anwen and her family. (Or, I should say that I meet Anwen and her family. It's possible that they appear elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, but it's the first time that I've met them.) We learn that Anwen's mother was a member of the Nova Corps and left Earth to make sure that the "bugs" didn't conquer it. But, they did, and Anwen and her grandfather assume that her mother is dead as a result. In the wake of that invasion, Anwen travels with her grandfather, as well as her father, younger sister, and dog, scavenging for food and trying to avoid the bugs.
But, eventually, the bugs find them, and the family's furious flight from them is so engrossing that I swear that I forgot to breathe. Before they're forced to run for their lives, Weaver and Duggan had made it clear how close the family is by showing the tensions between them, as the father and grandfather fight over how hard to be on the girls. But, these tensions disappear when they encounter the bugs. The authors have done such an amazing job of infusing these characters with life that you're already emotionally invested, hoping against hope that they make it. The issue ends with Anwen trapped in a bug's lair and venting her frustration with her mother's disappearance on one of them. In the process, she discovers that the bug seems to contain one of the Infinity Gems, likely the Reality Gem, given that she summons her mother to her side almost immediately. But, she also attracts the attention of a waiting Thanos, something that can't be good for anyone.
Honestly, this issue is just remarkably solid. Weaver and Duggan tell a story that doesn't have much to do with the larger "Secret Wars" plot, but takes advantage of the possibility that the event offers to tell a different story. Hopefully we'll be seeing Anwen and her father when the dust settles, but, in the meantime, I just can't wait for next issue.
***** (five of five stars)