Weaver and Duggan somehow manage to give us more information in this issue but leave us knowing less.
The main event here is Anwen's mother, Eve, turning the entire family (including Zig-Zag the dog, thanks to the intervention of Anwen's sister Fayne) into Novas. Anwen's father, Menzin, objects, arguing that the girls aren't soldiers. But, Eve argues that he can no longer keep them safe without powers. Menzin doesn't exactly agree, but the girls happily accept the powers. En route to the Nova base, Anwen reveals in passing that she found a "glowing rock" on a dead Nova, and Eve quickly identifies it as the Mind Gem (not the Reality Gem, as I first thought). The Gem comes in handy when the family is attacked by bugs, since Eve is able to use the Gem to convince them to leave.
It's here where it gets odd. The family arrives at the Nova base to discover it destroyed. Eve reveals that they are now the last Novas and that the Novas had been in possession of another Gem, but someone stole it. The thief is revealed to be Star-Lord, and, though he hoped that the Novas had all the stones, he tells Gamora that he's happy to sell this one. Meanwhile, in "the future," Thanos fights an empowered Anwen, and we learn that he's apparently killed the rest of her family. However, he disappears before she can kill him. He reappears...somewhere...and tells another version of himself that it "happened the same way, once again." This version pledges to "try harder," but the defeated Thanos destroys him and announces that it's time for a new strategy.
OK, obviously, I have several questions. First, it's still unclear to me if Eve isn't a figment of the Mind Gem's imagination. She's acting particularly cold, casually dismissing both the death of her father and the risks to her children becoming Nova, and it seems odd. Moreover, Anwen herself mentions during the battle with the bugs that none of it feels real, like she's imaging it. Obviously, I raised an eyebrow at that point. In addition, Eve's disappearance seems to make less sense. After all, Eve had gone into "space" to fight the bugs, but Weaver and Duggan remind us that "space" is still on Battleworld. It's here where the constraints of the "Secret Wars" concept are the most evident. The family can easily fly to the Nova base, and it raises the question why Eve, if she had really been alive all this time, never stopped to see how the family was doing. After all, she would've always been on Battleworld and specifically in New Xandar; it's not like she would have to come from another galaxy or something.
In other words, Weaver and Duggan do a good job of keeping us engaged. It's clear that they're telling a broader story than the one that we've seen so far. Plus, the family continues to feel like a real one, full of arguing and squabbling but also pulling together. Again, I really hope that we see them after "Secret Wars" ends.
*** (three of five stars)