Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2018
Superheroes of all kinds are cropping up with a wide variety of abilities from superhuman strength to flight, fire breathing to magic. These people have chosen to save those in need and keep their true identities secret. When people start turning into zombies, the heroes mobilize, but the zombies are too widespread and numerous to defeat. They set up a living situation in a movie studio in Hollywood they call The Mount. Everyone contributes and the heroes enforce their laws in addition to scavenging for resources and protecting the people from zombie and human foes alike. A gang called the Seventeens have their own living space and have been largely left alone until they launch an assault on the heroes during a scavenging mission. A new enemy has taken over and is hellbent on making the heroes pay.

Ex-Heroes melds two disparate genres, superhero and zombie apocalypse, and makes them work together in an oddly harmonious way. The superheroes are created by a variety of things like toxic spills or magic with abilities like super strength, breathing fire, speedy healing, and/or flight. These characters follow the same archetypes of famous heroes. For instance, St. George is clearly the overpowered boyscout Superman with slightly different abilities (breathing fire instead of laser eyes). Stealth is similar to Batman with her abilities and more cynical worldview. Chapters are labeled Then from before the apocalypse and Now. St. George is the main character, but each hero gets their own chapter Then chapter and, if still alive, a Now chapter. Then, each hero is fighting crime on a fairly small scale and Now, they are maintaining The Mount and merely surviving.

The zombies (or exes) are pretty standard fare. They are the animated unded. The disease is a bit different. It's a virus that mimics white blood cells thus replicating quickly in the body. It's highly infectious through bodily fluids and survives a long time outside of its host, making dead exes and even smears of blood just as dangerous. This disease isn't fatal and only takes hold after death. The reason why people usually die after a bite is that other diseases piggyback on the zombie disease, making it a toxic mix of every other disease every other person in the line of infection had. I'm not honestly sure how sound the science is, but the concept is intriguing. Further, zombified heroes retain their abilities and create havoc when an uber-zombie with the ability to control other exes has a grudge against the heroes.

Ex-Heroes has a fast pace and interesting stories in the past and present to get to know each hero a little bit along the way. The beginning just throws you into the world and you start to tread water a couple chapters in. My only criticism is in some of the heroes' narratives. Stealth is a beautiful woman in a revealing outfit and she's disgustingly objectified by quite a few of the male heroes. Once is showing a perspective and doing it multiple times just seems immature of the author and the characters. Stealth herself seems more like a robot than a person as if she had to be so different than her appearance to be seen as a legitimate hero. Other than that, I enjoyed the twists and turns. I'm planning to continue the series and I hope the problems I have resolve as the characters get more developed.
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