Written by: Matt Molgaard
What happens when a group of jaded superheroes tangle with legions of zombies? Well… Ex-Heroes happens. Peter Clines has crafted something of an anomaly with this tale, as, by all accounts it should be completely ridiculous, absurd rubbish. But it’s not. In fact, it’s a compelling spin on the zombie subgenre that capitalizes on the superhero craze that’s swept American like a plague over the last decade. Not in a million years could I have predicted zombies and superheroes would make for an entertaining battle in any medium other than a comic book, but Peter proves me wrong.
Ex-Heroes bursts from the gate, wasting virtually no time in depositing readers into a frantic world of ultra-violence. It’s kill or be killed in this disastrous America, and Clines ensures that the message gets across in convincing fashion. Balls to the wall action, resilient corpses and a wide variety of superheroes. We’re off to a good start here.
There really isn’t too much to share with you here in regards to plot specifics. Well, at least not without delving into the latter portions of the novel. That said I will disclose one specific fold of the story that may well catch you off guard. Rather than superheroes versus zombies, readers are introduced to a completely extra enemy. Within these carnage filled streets, a vicious and growing gang has made their presence known. The idea of a gang being introduced may sound a bit left-field, but once the reader learns of how significant these hooligans are to the story as a whole, any inclination to laugh becomes little more than a distant memory.
For a fast-paced, cinematic style story, Ex-Heroes is a solid investment. It’s an unforgiving joyride full of graphic gore, well-timed humor, and even a giant metallic machine that crushes craniums like a hilly billy crushes his Coors can. However, with that said, I do have one key complaint. Come on Peter, you knew you couldn’t get off that easy.
On a serious note, my lone issue with the novel is the excessive character introductions. At times the story becomes murky because you’ve forgotten exactly who is who. It’s one thing to come to learn a half dozen characters. To come to know closer to a full dozen becomes a bit distracting. It’s not impossible to follow this tale closely, but you may find yourself re-reading a few passages from time. I’m just thankful the serious players of the story (Stealth, Cerberus and St. George) carry such command it’s virtually impossible to see any of the three lost in the crowd.
Looking for a quick, rewarding read? Love zombies? Love superheroes? You can’t lose with Peter Clines’, Ex-Heroes. This is a well-balanced tale, and the countless pop culture (and geographical accuracy) references should keep just about all readers entertained. It’s fun, and Ex-Patriots, the immediate follow up is about to see it’s pages turned!
Order the novel here.