I am not going to lie; I am slightly intimidated by this review. How do I discuss a comic that takes place after a TV show? Do I assume that my audience has seen the show? Do I flash a big spoiler warning? Is it lazy writing to fill the intro with rhetorical questions?
For the moment I will approach this review as if you have seen as much of Dollhouse as I have, which is to say, Season 1. Sorry, Bryant. If you want to be surprised every step of the way with the show, then I suggest you read something else.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Dollhouse: Epitaphs picks up two weeks after the Rossumpocalypse and things are bad. Like any good zombie-ish story, we follow one or two groups of plucky survivors who have to deal with personal issues and the ravaging horde. There are some interesting variations on the theme due to the nature of this particular apocalypse. Without getting spoilery, there are some cool twists on the methods of the zombies and the survivors.
The writing is solid and very Whedon-esque, which makes perfect sense considering the writers. Andrew Chambliss wrote for Dollhouse and most of Buffy Season 9. Maurissa Tancharden and Jed Whedon both wrote for Dollhouse and also wrote Dr. Horrible. There are moments in this comic that are incredibly dark and dramatic, moments of unbelievable bada–itude, and some genuinely funny bits, too. The real treat here, as with pretty much anything that is properly Whedon-esque, is the character interaction. Will these two get along? How will that guy deal with this new situation? Why is it so gross when those two kiss? Who keeps writing these questions?
There is an interesting problem with the art in this book. I should say that the art is perfectly fine, but not the reason to pick up the book. The problem comes when the artist has to ensure that the characters are realistic enough to pass for the actors who played the parts in the show. There is nothing really wrong with this style, but it is disconcerting to see someone who looks mostly like that actor you know and love. There are panels that reside squarely in the uncanny valley. Again, this is not the fault of the artist; this is the issue with adapting live action to comics.
Ultimately, this is a book that I can easily recommend. The pacing is good. The story is interesting and different. The characters (who, I must admit, fall into a few stereotypes) are relatable and dynamic. This is one of those fast reads, but only because you have to read the next page, and the next.
Four terrifying apocalypses out of five.