Friday, January 29, 2010

...And Looking Ahead to 2010.

There's only so much public information about what's coming in the next few months, but I'll review what's already known and what's likely.

First -- and most immediately -- issue #4 of Criminal: The Sinners is in stores February 3rd, and yesterday Comic Book Resources posted a six-page preview of the story's penultimate issue, which resolves last issue's cliffhanger with a little violence and a surprising amount of humor.

It's worth noting that the second and third pages -- presumably facing pages -- break somewhat from the series' familiar three-row pattern. This is only the second time that page layout has changed, the first being in the first page in "Second Chance in Hell," from Volume #2, Issue #1.

After that?

The fifth and final issue of Criminal: The Sinners should be released in just a few more weeks. As of the time of this writing, has the issue still scheduled for its original solicitation date of February 24th, and Sean Phillips is already working on the finale.

Marvel's solicitations for March and April mention no new Icon material from Brubaker and Phillips. If history is any guide, we should still see the trade collection for "The Sinners" sooner rather than later -- May would be my guess.

The next arc after "The Sinners" may well be the sequel to Incognito, if plans haven't changed from interviews Brubaker gave last April and August. Brubaker may have alluded to this sequel in the afterward to the mini-series' trade paperback, apparently written this past October.
"If you like Incognito, you'll be pleased to hear there's more coming next year. Hopefully a lot more, because I've got quite a few ideas that I want to get in this little pulp world we created."
A five- or six-issue sequel that is published monthly and begins in April or May will get us to fall.

Beyond that, who knows? I do hope that Criminal isn't eclipsed by the Incognito universe, and I hope that we're still going to see "Coward's Way Out," the story of Leo's prison break, which was, according to Brubaker, pushed back in favor of "The Sinners."

What I find really interesting is DC's April solicitations [link corrected Feb 16], which provide an advance solicitation for the third hardcover collection for Ed Brubaker's Gotham Central.
Advance-solicited • On sale JUNE 9 • 224 pg, FC $29.99 US

Detective Renee Montoya investigates the disappearance of evidence amid a gang war and travels to Keystone City in an attempt to unveil the truth about a fellow officer’s strange mutation in this collection featuring issues #23-31 of the award-winning series. Plus, the dead body of Robin, the Boy Wonder, is found on the streets, forcing the detectives to solve the case while dealing with Batman and The Teen Titans.
The first two volumes collected ten issues and twelve issues, so if the entire, 40-issue series is going to be collected in hardcover editions, one would expect the third collection and the final collection each to contain nine issues. This solicitation meets that expectation.

Even though this book contains fewer issues, its retail price is still $29.99, but the price didn't go up for the twelve-issue second volume, either. If all forty issues are released in four volumes at this price, then the MSRP is essentially $3.00 an issue, which isn't bad considering the series' original cover price of $2.50.

What's really odd, though, is that the solicitation mentions "issues #23-31" but clearly alludes to the story, "Dead Robin," found in issues #33-36. Presently the official site has the same discrepancy, but I suspect that these hardcover collections will contain the entire run -- as the softcover volumes did not -- and that the "Dead Robin" arc will be left for the final nine-issue volume.

(Leaving "Dead Robin" to the last collection makes sense in terms of trade dress, anyway: it's Brubaker's last arc on the series, so saving it for Book Four will allow all the covers to give the same prominent attribution to both Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka.)

I'll update the blog if and when the discrepancy is addressed -- or, in the worst case, when I buy and open my copy of the book.

In the meantime, Criminal: The Sinners #4 is in stores this upcoming Wednesday.

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