Book: Dollhouse Epitaphs

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse: EpitaphsIn every major city, Dollhouses provided wealthy clients with any kind of companionship they required. For a price, beautiful young men and women opted to have their minds wiped clean, turning themselves into “dolls” who could be imprinted with computer-enhanced personalities and skills—to fit any buyer’s request. Now the Dollhouse technology has gone viral. . .

Dollhouse: Epitaphs is based on the television series created by Joss Whedon for actress Eliza Dushku. What started out as a project to showcase Eliza’s acting abilities quickly became something else, when the genius of Whedon combined elements of scary science-fiction with what is already possible in the real world: and what we have is Epitaphs.

The comic book is just the beginning of a series, if I’m not mistaken. Jed Whedon (brother of aforementioned Joss) and wife Marissa Tancharoen wrote two post-apocalyptic finales for Dollhouse when it was still on air. This time, they’re taking that future into the world of comics with the help of the talented Cliff Richards’ art.

Epitaphs deals with what happens when a powerful technology, like mind-wiping, gets into the wrong hands. The season one finale of Dollhouse dealt with a group of Los Angeles survivors trying to find a safe place away from technology that could mind wipe them, and their eventual escape. Dollhouse: Epitaphs takes us to Day One of the apocalypse.

We don’t get talking heads—characters that explain why what’s happening is happening. Instead we get dropped smack dab into the day of the apocalypse, with the three main characters of Epitaph One and the twist hero of Epitaph Two. We see a semblance of their normal lives before everything gets wrecked—and then we see them band together.

What I liked about Dollhouse: Epitaphs was the little things we learn about the characters; as well as the plot-fill of how the twist hero of Epitaph Two managed to make an army of his own. But as a standalone, I don’t think this particular story works. We only get the beginning. For the rest of the story, you’ll need to watch the Epitaph One episode. And probably grab the next issue: Dollhouse #1 when it does come out.

That’s the thing about comic books, isn’t it? You never get the whole story—unless you buy the next issue. It’s a marketing genius. Except I don’t think I’ll be following the comic series when it does begin this July. Why? Well, for one thing, it took me months to find an issue of Epitaphs. Apparently, our comic book stores rarely buy issues from independent publishers. And even when they do, they only get a few to make sure they don’t lose money.

Good thing for them, bad thing for us fans. But can I blame them? Not really. They’re running a business! But I sure am allowed to be disappointed that some independent titles aren’t getting released here.

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