By Dustin Cabeal
I’ve been waiting to read Dollface since supporting the Kickstarter. Having gotten my print copies and my digital, I could have reviewed it early but had too much going on. I’m a big fan of Dan Mendoza’s. Every since discovering the first volume of Zombie Tramp at Long Beach Comic Expo, I have followed his work. Needless to say, I was excited about a new series from him, especially with him illustrating it.
Dollface, as the cover says, is about the tales of the “ball-jointed” witch hunter. What’s particularly clever about this is how Mendoza ties it into Zombie Tramp, and by doing so, he has expanded the ZT universe. I loved that. It felt organic and natural to the universe rather than, “oh hey I have another supernatural idea let’s just shoehorn it together.”
Lila is our witch hunter, but due to how the story starts, we’re left with a lot of questions about her origin and her task. It’s not so much that the story does that annoying thing where it shows us where it’s heading, it’s more like the script was re-ordered to add a layer of mystery. You could put it in chronological order, and it would make sense, but maybe not be as interesting. I won’t say how Lila comes to be because that’s the main reason to read this first issue.
Mendoza’s artwork and coloring is by far the best it’s ever been, and I love his growth as an illustrator. Of course, Lila’s design is what I’m sure a lot of people were drawn to, and I will fully admit that it’s great but also has the potential to be iconic. All of the character designs stand out.
With that shows Mendoza’s growth as a creator, though, he created a supporting cast with co-creator Bryan Seaton. As much as I enjoy Zombie Tramp, the story has taken the long path towards getting a cast but often relies on Janey to seek out trouble. With the formula that Dollhouse is invoking it’s already setting itself up to be more diverse with its stories.
This first issue does have its rough edges. It gives most of the origin, but we’ll have to keep reading to get a full picture of what's happening. While that breaks the “origin story” norm, it still felt rough. The pacing could have been a bit better as well, but at least it chopped up the script rather than tease what was to come and then lead us back around to it.
Covers and artwork aside, I like what Mendoza and Seaton are attempting here. I’ve had a monster hunter story sized hole in my reading list for some time and so if they’re able to develop the cast and keep the story related to Zombie Tramp without relying heavily upon ZT, then there’s some real potential for this series. I’ll likely be reading either way.
Creators/Story: Dan Mendoza & Bryan Seaton
Writer/Artist: Dan Mendoza
Colorists: Dan Mendoza & Valentina Pucci
Publisher: Danger Zon