By: Corey Lack
Ex-Heroes is the first book of Peter Clines’s Ex-Heroes series. It was released in 2013. It features a group of heroes trying to protect what may be the last remnant of humanity living in a movie studio while zombies, referred to as exes or ex-humans, shamble around outside their walls looking for meat to devour. That isn’t the only threat for the heroes and surviving humans as it turns out there are other humans in the ruins of LA and a few of them have bones to pick with the heroes. Some of the heroes are the Mighty Dragon, a man with super strength, hovering ability, and fire breath, Zzzap, a paralyzed man that can become a being of living energy, Stealth, a woman with Olympic-level physical ability and genius-level intellect, and others.
Many of the hero characters are clearly inspired by “real” superheroes, like the Dragon is clearly inspired by Superman, Stealth by Punisher and Batman, Cerberus by Iron Man, and Zzzap by Flash. Despite obvious inspirations, these characters are clearly their own characters and not obvious knock-offs. The characters have their own quirks and interests, like Zzzap was major nerd for all things pop culture, the pilot of the Cerberus suit has extreme agoraphobia and panics when she isn’t in the suit, and Stealth has self-confidence issues.
The best part about this book though is that the superhero aspect almost takes a backseat to the rest of the story. The best part of the story focuses on the struggles of the characters to maintain a semblance of normality. They seek to continue their personal views and morals while still doing what’s necessary to survive the terrible situation. In fact, a lot of this can be connected to the show the Walking Dead in regards to why they both work so well. Both make the more extraordinary aspects more background than the forefront, though some of those aspects do become important.
I would strongly recommend reading this one as the characters draw the reader in, the events keep you on the edge of your seat, and the writing will make you feel like you can see exactly what’s happening. I give it 8 dead exes out of 10.