Publisher’s blurb:

The Rossum Corporation’s Dollhouse technology has gone viral with a synchronized phone call that wiped the minds of everyone it reached, turning them into mindless killers. Those who avoided the call–including show favorites Echo, Alpha, Mag, Zone, and Griff–must try to survive in the sudden apocalypse and be wary of Rossum’s expansive technological reach.

In DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS (Dark Horse) [1. This book was provided for review by Dark Horse] we get a look at the worst case scenario for the imprint technology used in Dollhouse the TV show. Robo-calls are made to just about everyone in America and if the person at the other end answered the phone, they were hit with an imprint. The imprint erased their personality and replaced it with that of a blood-thirsty killing drone.

Imprinted people have no actual reasoning or logic, just standing orders they’re compelled to obey. If every last person is dead, they don’t just snap out of it because the job’s done. Nope. They can either go on to task number two, be erased, or be reprogrammed.

Is a person still a person if you remove them from their body? Similarly, is a body still a person without the individual person inside of it?

It has always been easy enough to decide that a zombie should be killed. A change takes place that removes them from the Human bucket. Not only do they die but they also look dead and act inhuman.

What if they only did one of those things? Would we be so quick to pull the trigger or swing the bat if Mrs. May still looked exactly the same except with a new rage behind her eyes?

This is where it gets complicated. Imprinted people can’t go back to who they were. They’ll never answer to their given name or remember the five dollars they owe you. That personality is gone. Dead if you will. So what does that make the body that used to house Mrs. May?

Is it still Mrs. May or is she dead and this is just a virus puppeting her still living corpse?

This was one of the interesting and enjoyable takeaways with  DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS — I was left thinking, wondering. Both the story and the ideas that the story was built on stuck with me and grew.

Of course I felt empathy for the protagonists but I also felt it for the antagonists because they were doing double duty as the victims. Some characters were willing to highlight this and even question other about the guilt or innocence of an imprinted body. Other characters only saw the world as people who knew their government name and people who got shot.

The imprinting technology and its nuance are plausibly laid out in easy to digest portions. However the backstory, for me, someone who watch every Dollhouse episode and its conclusion episode, felt clumsy and confusing.

This volume focuses on one of the most forgettable characters from the series, Ivy, and one of the most heinous, Alpha. And, oddly enough, I was more sympathetic to the plight of the heinous serial killer, Alpha.

Alpha is working with Ivy, a few Ivies actually, to fight against the Rossum corporations out of control imprint technology. However, the multiple Ivies is my problem. Earlier I mentioned that once a person is imprinted, they are overrun. Essentially, Ivy hijacked hundreds of bodies to give herself a chance at survival. Sure it was a good cause and maybe some of those people would have volunteered but she didn’t give them a choice. While her motivations were good, her actions were still generally murderous. She decided that her life was worth more than theirs. Her knowledge was worth them forfeiting their lives for a cause they didn’t get the chance to even be effected by, to a person they might no have sided with.

It was hard to have empathy when Ivy has a handful of herself running around and joking and a group of survivors are just shy of defending themselves to avoid being imprinted.


[rating:4] (I’d make out with it at a bar but I wouldn’t take it home without references.)


The book was long enough with enough story movement to be worth the cover price, in my opinion.

Ethics of the story aside, it was a compelling and engaging read with well-done graphics and pacing. I don’t really know what they’re looking for or really trying to accomplish because there was a bit of inside baseball to the dialogue. With the whole, is it a person theme there is a bit of self-exploration and deep, sappy contemplation and moments.


Writer: Andrew Chambliss, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
Penciller: Cliff Richards
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Publication Date: April 11, 2012
Format: FC, 160 pages, TP, 7″ x 10″
Price: $18.99
Age range: 16
ISBN-10: 1-59582-863-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-59582-863-7


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