PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Advent Rising: Rock the Planet #1-2

Ryan Paul

The futuristic setting is really secondary to the character-driven stories of Gideon and Ethan.

Advent Rising

Publisher: 360ep
Subtitle: Rock the Planet #1-2
Contributors: Arthur Dela Cruz (Artist), Cliff Richards (Artist), Dennis Cristomo (Artist), Chris De Lara (Artist), Simon Bowland (Artist)
Price: $2.25
Writer: Donald Mustard, Bill Jemas, Rob Worley
Item Type: Comic
Length: 64
Publication Date: 2005-11

This new series from 360ep apparently serves as a prequel to the video game series Advent Rising. Unfortunately, this first issue has little of the action one would typically find in a video game, and so I'm not sure exactly how successful this tie-in is going to be.

Gideon and Ethan Wyeth are two teenagers newly arrived on the asteroid Artemus, where their engineer father is running mining operations for the United Resources Corporation. The comic follows the storylines of the two brothers as they adapt to their new lives in the Academy. Gideon is an awkward freshman seeking acceptance, while Ethan is a star ROTC cadet trying to establish his authority as the new head of the slacker squad.

Despite the science fiction setting, the story in the first two issues (sold as a package) is really standard teenage coming-of-age stuff. It's a light teen drama, with a pinch of space. In fact, the science fiction elements seem tacked on, and if anything they weaken the story presented in the first two issues. The writers seem to have grabbed a handful of concepts from the sci-fi cliche grab bag and tossed them in. The kids ride hoverboards, that fantastic technology everyone has been clamoring for since Back to the Future 2. The galaxy-spanning URC mines asteroids for something with the unoriginal name H-Ore to ship back to earth to clean the oceans (it seems odd that a civilization that can travel the galaxy can't figure out a simpler way to clean the ocean than mining substances in outer space). Not very original stuff to any fan of sci-fi.

No, the futuristic setting is really secondary to the character-driven stories of Gideon and Ethan. Gideon faces the typical problems of any freshman in a new school. On his first day, he's picked on by the older kids, picked on by the girls, picked on by the locals... As you might gather, Gideon isn't the most socially adept. He falls for a girl named Olivia, one the local "Rockies," lower-class kids who ride hoverboards and generally stand around being cool and rebellious. Of course, he's one of the rich off-worlders, so Olivia and her crew want nothing to do with him. If you've seen any teen TV show or movie ever, you know that he's going to do his best to show his street cred and win her heart.

Ethan is also having girl troubles of his own. He's put in charge of Squad Blue, the losingest bunch of ROTC cadets on the asteroid. Determined to whip them into shape, he's put into conflict with Abbey Van Horn, former group leader and, as the last name should tell you, the typical spoiled rich kid. As Ethan attempts to assert his authority, she does her best to show him up.

Of course, the stories of the Wyeth brothers aren't the most original in the world either. It's the stuff of Beverly Hills 90210, but it's handled well. The characters are written with spirit and drawn with a rough realism that keeps the story grounded in the futuristic setting. The chief problem with Advent Rising is the pace. Bill Jemas was one of the architects of the "decompressed storytelling" movement of the last few years, and his influence certainly shows in this series. Scheduled for six issues, this is supposed to lead us to the game, which centers around Gideon discovering his destiny to unite the universe. By the end of the second issue, the future intergalactic messiah has barely learned to ride a hoverboard. Assuming that's not the sum total of powers needed to qualify for hero of the universe, we've got a long way to go, and just how it's going to fit in to another 130 pages or so is a mystery. Hell, we haven't even seen an alien yet.

All in all, Advent Rising is a promising title, likely to be a hit with a younger audience and with fans of the video game. However, the industry-wide tendency to stretch stories as much as possible mars what could be an excellent, if by-the-numbers, coming-of-age-in-space story. With the overly relaxed place, perhaps a better subtitle would be Easy Listening the Planet.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.