ABNETT Imagines Hard SF Police Procedural With BRINK

"Brink" first look
Credit: I.N.J. Culbard (Rebellion)
Credit: I.N.J. Culbard (Rebellion)

Dan Abnett has made a name for himself in space-faring science fiction with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, but now he and frequent collaborator INJ Culbard are delving into something darker -- and just for 2000AD.

Early next year, 2000AD will debut a new serial by the Wild's End pair titled Brink. Set in a near future where the world has gone sour, the last remnants of humanity live in space stations on the brink of existence. Desperate people locked in tight spaces is a breeding ground for crime however, and Brink follows a pair of police detectives trying to keep things from going from bad to worse.

Newsarama talked with Abnett about this upcoming series, what prompted him down the hard SF route, and what he'd do if he were living in a world like that of Brink.

Newsarama: Dan, what led you to create such a dangerous and dark story as Brink?

Dan Abnett: The main thing was to create a story for 2000AD. Ian and I have loved working together on Wild’s End, New Deadwardians and Dark Ages, but those are all ‘U.S. format” 22 page series. We also both contribute to 20000AD, which presents stories in a larger format in five-page, weekly episodes. The pacing and feel is completely different, so we thought it would be fun to combine there and try something different. We wanted to do SF, but dark, and very ‘real’ and near future, and we also wanted to re-visit the police procedural’ feel of New Deadwardians. The Brink idea evolved quickly from that.

Nrama: From what you’ve shown me, this is a crime procedural set in space. With all that technology and know-how to live in space, why is crime still so prevalent?

Abnett: Because it’s a desperate time. Mankind may know how to go into, and survive in, space, but now he’s been forced too. A terrible calamity has engulfed the Earth, rendering it uninhabitable, and the entire surviving population is living ‘on the Brink’ - in space, in whatever space stations, ships and habitats it can salvage. It’s a mass refugee crisis with nowhere to go, and living is tight and overcrowded, and no one’s happy, and extinction is looking, and resources are scarce, and everyone is psychologically damaged, and… and… so you might expect there’d be some disruption and crime.

Nrama: And your two primary characters are Carl “Brink” Brinkmann and Bridget “Bridge” Kurtis. What can you tell us about them?

Abnett: They’re pretty ordinary people, both cops, both detectives, working hard to keep order and protect society, plus battling their own demons (the death of Earth has been tough on everyone). They’re good friends - he’s more driven and serious than she is, and she has a good touch when it comes to dealing with people. 

Credit: I.N.J. Culbard (Rebellion)

Nrama: What’s their first case?

Abnett: A murder. The sort of nasty ‘violence with your neighbors because life is so overcrowded’ badness that can happen in dense cities. Just another unhappy sign of the times, the sort of thing they are dedicated to keep a lid on.

Nrama: This could be a series of standalone stories ala Law & Order, but I’ve got a whiff of something deeper going on. Can you talk about that?

Abnett: We follow one case as it grows deeper and darker from the murder. They follow the leads. There is something much bigger and grimmer going on and they are tapping into it.

Nrama: When does the first issue come out, and how long is the arc?

Abnett: It starts in the new year, and the opening story is 75 pages running in five page instalments.

Nrama: So will this be exclusive to 2000AD, or will it be collected?

Abnett: It will be in 2000AD, but I hope they’ll also collect it as a trade.

Credit: I.N.J. Culbard (Rebellion)

Nrama: Do you see this as an ongoing story, or a finite series?

Abnett: It’s one big finite story, but there is massive possibility for further stories set in the same world. We’ll have to see if people like it and want more.

Nrama: With this drastically dark world you two have pictured here, if you lived in it where would you see yourself? What would your job be, and what would you be doing?

Abnett: I’d probably be writing or working in VR design so I could find worlds to escape too. But I’d probably be enlisted in some more practical and basic industry because everyone needs to pull together if they’re going to survive.

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