Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines, Ex-Heroes #2

It's been two years since the plague of ex-humans spread through the world, and the last of America's superheroes continue to hold the line against the undead... but even they can't hold out forever.

Hope comes in the form of a military drone bringing new of 'Project Krypton'. But will salvation come at a price?

Ex-Patriots is the second book in the Ex-Heroes series written by Peter Clines. The first book in the series, Ex-Heroes, introduced us to quite some cool stuff. The first being superheroes, the second being zombies and not to forget chock-full of action! In Ex-Heroes, Peter Clines had created a interesting view upon both genres and his envisioned superheroes weren't cliche at all, he gave each one of them a bit of twists and turns (and yes, you will undoubtly see familiarities with the more famous ones). But Peter Clines does drop a few humorous and mocking hints in the story. 

In Ex-Patriots the story picks up a few year after the events of Ex-Heroes having defeated the threat of the Seventeens. And it's business as usual for the survivors and superheroes living in the Mount, trying to get by for just another day. They are still scavenging the outskirts of Los Angeles for food and other useful items, but even for the survivors the zombiepocalypse is being a more than dire situation. Now during a regular screen, some of the superheroes stumble upon a military drone and Zzzap, makes contact with the military. To everyone in the mount this news comes as a big relief, as with the promise of more power, they will be able to survive. But even though the army is to some a relief, other still remain a bit reluctant about the whole situation. Because why hadn't the military made themselves known before? This really is the start of Ex-patriots and proves to be just as it's predesscor, an enjoyable action packed read

Most of the superheroes that we have seen in Ex-Heroes make a recurrent visit in Ex-Patriots. You have The Mighty Dragon AKA St. George, Stealth, Zzap and Cerberus. St George is I think the more prominent hero of the book and a lot is being told from his perspective, he also has the ability to lift heavy objects, breath fire, fly and is unable to get bitten by the exes. Stealth though she doesn't have flashy superpowers she is a bit of the mastermind behind all the heroes coordinating their next moves. Zzap is for me one of the coolest heroes out there, able to turn his body into pure energy and move accordingly so. Cerberus is a suite of battlearmor and operated by a human. Now I was really hoping that with being this being the second book in the series that there would be more exploration on the side of the heroes, but unfortunately it wasn't at the level I had hoped it would be. Of some heroes we do get to learn more, and with Zzzap being one of my favorites I was happy to learn about how his powers work exactly and how he had evolved them a bit in the end to use it in another way. More over the heroes do remain of what they were in Ex-Heroes

But the wonders haven't left the world just yet as Peter Clines introduces one new superhero in the mix "The Driver" able to reanimate mechanical stuff like cars. Now you might be wondering is that a useful superpower? Well the heroes of the mount don't think so... The Driver' power won't handle a bunch of exes... And he gets discarded, however in the end there is a nice follow-up involving The Driver and he just comes to show that he has an unexpected versatility in his powers. The way the Peter Clines described these scenes and the conversing with Zzzap and Danielle and what happened after was a fun to read. 

Now the for the element that makes Ex-Patriots go round. The U.S. army and their base called Krypton. Well we all know to which superhero this relates. Secretely the army has been making their own superheroes. Drug and other chemical stimulants to boost their muscle powers, making a set of supersoldiers. After various attempts only a few have become super and their leader is called Freedom. Now as a reader you might think whats all the fuss about. Now that America has supersoldiers they can save the day again. Well it doesn't go quite like that. Because early on you learn what their real motives are and if America can't control it... no one should... But back to Freedom and his buddies. These guys are massive and obey any command said by their superiors but even by this, Freedom is the one who does have the most personality of the bunch. A lot of guilt made him where he is now, he wanted to become the soldier his father would be proud of. You can't fault Freedom with a lack patriotism. I was very pleased with how Peter Clines came to show the military, it wasn't a straight forward set-up and in revealing the plot line there were quite some twists and turns and as you got further up the rungs it got a bit more intricate. And then there is an even bigger twist. One of which the bad guy of the army couldn't have imagines and one that hit our superheroes out of the blue as well! this was good stuff. 

The way the story is told is being done in a similar way as Ex-Heroes with the Now and Then times, cleverly introducing flashback moments for showing the history of several characters and how their actions or events they lives by led up to the actual set of events in the Now time. Peter Clines does introduce an engaging way of telling the story in this way, when I read these parts I always try to relate them and sometimes you do see links with it a few chapter back. Next to this there is also a bunch of humor and a lot of pop culture references, like referring to marvel or DC superheroes, like with Captain Freedom and a shield, but also a lot of places and other stuff that is being visited in Ex-Patriots. Some of the readers might think that it is too much or doesn't fit, but do come to think of it, it was a zombiepocalypse that hit our time so out stuff should be in there. THe ending of the book is full of smashing and grabbing, fire breathing, and guns. Even though the story was set up in a clear way, I did find the ending of it all a bit to abrupt like it was more of a episode on the television, it was done and the heroes returned home. I would have liked to have seen just that bit more of producing either a cliffhanger or some more closeness, I have no clue as to how Ex-Communications will pick-up. 

Ex-Patriots is a more than fun and action packed mash-up of zombies and superheroes. It had to live up to a great start of the series and in terms of really taking the Ex-Heroes series further, it didn't quite do it for me. Overall with Ex-Patriots being the second book in the series it could have used the foundation of Ex-Heroes to it's fullest, but didn't quite come through in terms of character development and getting most out of it. However the story that is being introduced in Ex-Patriots with the U.S. army trying to make a coup of it all has many great moments and Peter Clines does use the superheroes as they were in shown in Ex-Heroes, determined and with some cool and flashy moves. I think that the essences of the Ex-Heroes books are to entertain and with all the humorous scenes and pop culture references that Peter Clines introduces it does manage to do that in the fullest. It's a lot of fun to read.

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