Sunday, 13 April 2014

Interlude 002

EX-PURGATORY – Peter Clines

Published 2014

4 stars
George Bailey is an ordinary guy, working the nine to five as a handyman and trying to make the best of the little he's got. But when he sleeps, he dreams of fire and flying, of zombies and superheroes.
When the two realities start to merge, George begins to question if he's gone mad. That, or something 
has gone terribly wrong.

Sometimes you can take two things you like, put them together and make something even better.

French fries & milkshake.
Joss Whedon & Marvel.
Cornershop & Fatboy Slim.

Last year I discovered an author who managed to pull this off with his Ex series of books; superheroes and zombies.

The first three books (Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots and Ex-Communication) were all out when I stumbled across the series and I ploughed through them in a couple of weeks. The stories revolve around a group of Los Angeles based superheroes who, while unable to prevent the zombie apocalypse, have since helped to protect some of the world’s survivors. Their new home is the converted Paramount movie studios which have been walled off from the rest of LA. Although we jump into other characters from time to time the main character is George Bailey AKA St George, The Might Dragon. He’s your typical Superman type; super strong, invulnerable and able fly but with the added ability of breathing fire.

What Peter Clines has done well in this series is link a lot of things together, much like the Marvel films are doing right now. Little bits here and there might seem like they mean nothing as you read them but they grow into something important two books later. The planning throughout the series so far has been perfect.

This book, Ex-Purgatory, keeps up the good work. George Bailey is a normal guy living a normal life. He is a maintenance man at a collage but something is seems off about the world around him and his dreams are getting strange. If you know you geek troupes then you should work out what’s going on before the second twist but it’s still a good journey non-the-less. The story even name drops the Star Trek episode it rifts from to make sure you get it. It certainly isn’t afraid to wear its geek heart on its sleeve. Most of this comes down to Barry Burke, AKA Zzzap   

There’s not a bum character in the whole series and its great seeing them grow as a family. I’d mark this entry as the weakest but only because it has the least amount of superpowers on show and I love superpowers being used. Perhaps that’s why I prefer 90’s era X-Men comics.

My only real complaint in this series to date is that the zombie fighting descriptions are begining to blur. Of course how many times can you write about a man with superstrength knocking the head off a zombie and kicking then fifty meters into a building down the street? It’s a credit to Peter Clines that he has developed plots so different that the books themselves don’t feel repetitive even with the limited variations on zombie extinction.

I hope Peter Clines keeps up this amazing run as I’m now looking forward to the next one now.

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