4 out of 5
There’s such casual greatness within the pages of 2000 AD – meaning high-quality, re-readable, dense, creative, world-crafting-and-destroying fiction, arrived at without the American pomp of CBR coverage or “from the writer of so-and-so!” hype – that it makes you want to shout alerts from the rooftops directly into every unawares reader’s consciousness when something like Brink drops in a digestible trade format. There’s the slight hesitation that making this stuff reach a more widespread audience might tarnish it, but you gotta trust in these guys: writer Dan Abnett, specifically, is all over US comics and definitely writes a particular way for each locale / publisher, and the almighty 2000 AD current editor Matt Smith has made leaps and bounds toward penetrating the US market while his edited mags have just gotten better and better. Plus, it’s not like this stuff is underground, exactly, it’s just not on Batman / Spider-man awareness levels with average Joe Comicshoppe.
Anyhow, preamble: Brink is great.
Brink is great despite having a slightly sloppy eleventh hour character reversal (though this does tend to happen with 2000 ADs limited week-to-week pages, requiring drastic actions to occur in a small space) and despite my continual, erm, dislike for artist INJ Culbard, though his design work is integral here. Brink is great for the way Abnett crafts an incredibly rich lead in space copper Bridget, and an insanely massive-but-digestible universe of “habs” – inhabited space stations – post the Earth’s destruction (occupying a realm / era referred to as the book’s / series’ title), and a weird-ass cult uprising / murder mystery hybrid that’s so organically arrived at it could only be 2000 AD.
I read this in the week-to-weeks, but frankly, Dan’s plotting is so quick and thick that as much as I enjoyed it then, it works 1000% better as an uninterrupted read. There’s a bit of a learning curve when you realize we’re not going to get walked through the exact premise, but all the slang related to the habs and Bridge’s (and partner Brinkmann’s) dialogue in discussing the presence of possible Sect activity – cult-related crime – on their hab catches you up to speed before you realize it.
To INJ’s artwork: his flat colors and simple figures undersell so much of the action, especially when compared to the snippet of Dan’s script that’s provided as an extra, but, again, I accept – thanks to his sketches also provided in the extras – that he’s equally involved in designing the look and feel of the world of Brink, and while the overall visuals don’t wow me, the effort in arriving at something synchronous and identifiable is certainly visible and admirable. Would I prefer a different artist? Sure. I don’t think INJ and Brink and inextricable, but I accept that it’s truly my opinions at work here, i.e. mileage may vary and etcetera…