Slow Burn Sci-Fi Noir Brilliance – Preview Brink Book 3: High Society

by Richard Bruton

If you’ve been following the Weekly 2000 AD previews, you’ll already be well aware of Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard‘s stunning series Brink. But, with the publication of Book 3 in the series on 16 May, it’s a fine time to share with you the best thing in 2000 AD for many, many years.

Brink is a spectacularly suspenseful series, with Abnett’s writing tense and tight with INJ Culbard’s artwork supremely adaptable for anything and everything required, lush and vivid through to desperately dark.

It’s a story that rarely explodes with action, but that’s never a problem. Instead, Brink bubbles away, tense, taut, clever stuff, like the best long-form TV, think The Wire with intense sci-fi, throw in some David Lynch and John Carpenter, and you’re getting somewhere near it. Except in Brink, the special effects budget is as vast as Culbard & Abnett’s considerable imaginations.

And in INJ Culbard, Brink has the perfect artist for this sort of thing. Whenever I’ve seen his work, whether it’s here, with Ian Edginton on 2000 AD’s Brass Sun or SelfMadeHero‘s Sherlock Holmes graphic novels, or on the incredible graphic novels he writes and draws, the genuinely chilling Lovecraft adaptations or his own sci-fi graphic novel, Celeste, his work is consistently superb. Here, he’s veering into perfection, with the artwork capturing every subtle nuance, as though we’re watching an acting masterclass on the page. Just like these…

And then there’s the setting, the world, the sheer physical space of Brink, whether it’s the closed-off, claustrophobic elements of everyday humanity squeezed into the Habs, all Tokyo night, neon-lit spectacle, or the expansive, open worlds we see in High Society, where money and power buy space and light. All of it expressed perfectly, incredible colors everywhere, creating atmosphere, mood, doing so much heavy lifting to tell the story. Masterful.

So far, in book 1 and 2, we’ve come to know Bridget Kurtis, Habitat Security Division officer, responsible for keeping law and order on the various habitats occupied by the remnants of humanity after Earth is reduced to an uninhabitable wasteland. She’s had to suffer the loss of her partner, Brinkman, and come to terms with the strange, dangerous world of the mysterious sects springing up across the Habs, where the psychological damage of Hab life expresses itself in bizarre ideas and explosive violence.

Now, in book 3, Bridget Kurtis returns to undercover ops for Hab-Sec, posing as household staff on the luxurious Junot House hab, looking to investigate sect crimes and infiltrate the master sect operating at the highest levels of this high society hab, a cult with dark plans of mass human sacrifice.

And that’s to say nothing of the mystery surrounding just what happened to Mercury. And, without spoilering things, the ending of this book, in a perfectly paced and simply spellbindingly drawn coda of talking heads and complex biology, you’re plunged further and further down the rabbit hole along with poor Bridge.

Brink Volume 3, High Society; the best slow burn sci-fi horror police procedural you’ll likely ever read. Read it, read books 1 & 2, and you’ll find that, just like me, you’ll be waiting with baited breath for the forthcoming book 4.

Now, enjoy the preview and go buy the book…

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