I'm pretty sure you already know who I am. As for everyone else... I don't think there are enough people left to make a secret identity worth the effort.Ex-Heroes is a novel published by Permuted Press. It combines superheroes, post-apocalypse, and zombie novel written by Peter Clines. A series of superheroes appear during the 21st century, each possessing a variety of superpowers and abilities. They make a brief splash, curing all sorts of ills in the Los Angeles area (amongst other places).Unfortunately, they don't get to enjoy their success long before the entire world is struck by a Zombie Apocalypse of epic proportions. Now, a year later, they have to defend their tiny enclave of human survivors from a seemingly endless horde of undead monsters.A sequel, Ex-Patriots, was released in 2011. It follows the continuing adventures of the original heroes and adds a second group of survivors seemingly saved by the military.A third book, Ex-Communication, was released July 9, 2013, and deals with the return of Max Hale and Cairax Murrain.Book 4, Ex-Purgatory, is set for release on January 14, 2014.
Cursed with Awesome: Stealth is a statuesque knockout of a woman who made a significant amount of money as an underwear model, but she's also a genius polymath. Much of the reason why she's a masked superhero in the first place is because she had a great deal of trouble getting anyone in academia to take the ex-model seriously.
Death by Sex: Cairax dies due to getting a blow job from zombie Jessica Alba. No one is sure how to react when told about this.
Generic Doomsday Villain: Rodney Casares AKA Pee-Zee or Patient Zero. He randomly turns up with the power to control the zombies, to survive the zombification with his own intelligence intact, and with enhanced physical abilities and stature he never had in life. The most that's ever explained about him is that he used to be a random gangbanger and that he was one of the first victims of the disease, but he is otherwise completely unique and exists for no reason other than to present a massive threat to the main cast. Though he does get some backstory in the second book, it doesn't really explain all that much...
At the same time, subverted, since his plan isn't global destruction or to wipe out all the heroes, and he tells them several times that he would welcome everyone except Gorgon to his side. He just wants two things, revenge on Gorgon, who beat him up several times prior to the Zombie Apocalypse, and to take total control of Los Angeles. The only reason he hasn't taken over the world so far is due to the fact that he just isn't smart enough to make the most effective use of his powers.
Genki Girl: Banzai. Before she's killed and turned into a zombie.
Genre Blind: Most of the world. No one is willing to recognize that the Zombie Apocalypse is in fact a genuine zombie apocalypse until it is too far gone to stop. Only Stealth and the heroes are from the get go able to recognize the threat, and once they realize what it is, act appropriately to try (if fail) to stop it.
Kick the Dog: Peasy's most disgusting moment is undoubtedly when he reveals he's been using Banzai's zombie corpse for sex.
Most Common Superpower: Averted. Stealth stands out among the heroines. Banzai posed as a man to keep her secret identity secure.
Ms. Fanservice: Stealth seems to explicitly invoke this, which is odd considering her backstory of not being taken seriously because of how pretty she was.
Not Using the Z Word: Discussed. People use Exes (as in ex-people or ex-human) because it's easier to accept than Zombie.
Our Zombies Are Different: Seemingly averted. The zombies in the Ex-Heroes universe are direct homages to the George Romero universe. Later, of course, they show they are shown to be products of a disastrous attempt at reanimation.
Punny Name: A guy called the Mighty Dragon starts using the name St George After the End. St George in Catholic iconography is frequently depicted as slaying a dragon.
Survival Horror: A rare non-game example, it follows the tropes basically to the letter. The Mount is all about survival.
Stripperiffic: Averted. Stealth's form fitting outfit is sexualized by outsiders but practical. Cerberus sexualizes her decidedly Iron Man-esque costume.
Stuffed In A Fridge: Banzai. A lot of fans took a shine to her in the short time she's in existence.
Too Dumb to Live: The majority of civil authority. In spite of government advisory stating that the exes are in fact walking corpses, the police, the army, everyone except Stealth and the other superheroes, refuse to recognize that YES, the exes are dead, with no way of stopping them except headshots, and no way of reasoning with them, and no means of curing them, since they are just corpses. By the time that people start recognizing the threat for what it is, it's already too late to stop it.
A unique example in that the virus itself is not lethal. What is lethal is the bacteria and viruses present in the human body, especially in a walking corpse. Initially, there were cases of people surviving a bite if they were in a hospital and immediately pumped full of antibiotics. Now, with every zombie mouth stuffed with hundreds of infectious diseases, there's practically no chance of survival without superpowers specially geared for disease immunity, or immediate amputation of the bitten limb.
Zombie Apocalypse: One of the big examples of it, humanity being on the verge of extinction.
Awesome McCoolname: Captain Freedom. His great-great-grandfather was born a slave, but slavery was repealed when he was four. At age 18 he changed the family name to what he thought was the greatest word in the English language.
Badass Driver: The Driver, naturally. Though he doesn't get much chance to do any real driving, he can take control of machines and control them better than any normal driver ever could. Machines like a certain suit of Powered Armor...
Bitter Sweet Ending: Though Freedom and the remains of the military base join the Mount, Smith gets away and they still have no way of dealing with Legion, who can't be defeated now that he can Body Surf between Exes
I Am Legion: Rodney changes his name to Legion after his powers get stronger.
I Am Not Left-Handed: When he first appears Captain Freedom puts up a pretty good fight against St George. later on in the book it's revealed St George was holding back and proceeds to lay the smackdown on Freedom and his entire squad.
Kick the Dog: Project: Krypton gets one when they kidnap Zzzap.
Mad Scientist: Dr. Emil Sorrenson. Averted. He actually doesn't have any talent at controlling zombies. He's just being used by Legion.
And I Must Scream: When he was turned into a zombie thanks to his magic, Max Hale remained fully aware. Unfortunately for him, so did Cairax Murrain, who was trapped in there with him, and forced him to relive every painful experience he ever had all at once, more or less continuously for three years.
The worst part? Whatever sort of limbo they were trapped in let time move with excruciating slowness. When Hale first tries to get back at Cairax regarding his torment, he states that Cairax has been torturing him for months, and no one has killed them yet. Cairax responds by saying that they've been at it for less than a day. Now, imagine what three years must feel like.
Crazy-Prepared: Stealth, as might be expected. She even keeps a spare mask in her belt.
Enemy Mine: Legion shows up in the final battle to help the heroes against Cairax Murrain, and subsequently gives them an hour to get back to the Mount without attacking them.
Evil Virtues: When Legion makes a promise, he keeps it. Even when he was manipulating Doctor Sorenson, he kept his promise to look for Sorenson's wife and daughter, and he allowed St George and the others to get back to the Mount after promising he wouldn't attack them for an hour.
The Gadfly: Barry / Zzzap. After the final battle:
Barry (who has been paraplegic for years prior to the story): I can't feel my legs. I think...I think I'm paralyzed.
Nano Machines: Madelyn Sorenson. Originally, they were only supposed to repair her wounds until her body could catch up, but after being killed by zombi...uhh...Exes they had to replace basically everything. End result, she's still Madelyn, but she's also a shitton of nanites.
Oh Crap: When Hale got the original tattoos that would allow him to contain Cairax, he mentioned to the magic user why he needed them, and who it was he had sealed away in his little pendant. The magic user gives a massive Oh Crap, because unlike most people, he knows who Cairax is, and what he is capable of... and they were in the middle of Paris, where Cairax could easily hurt a whole lot of people if he escaped.
Rule of Symbolism: Alot of symbology is invoked to help combat Cairax Murrain, and it ultimately proves to be the deciding factor in the battle. Max Hale off-handedly claims that they'd need an archangel to defeat Cairax; a creature composed of radiance and will, shaped in God's own image. When he's Zzzap Barry is little more than a star held in the shape of a man by his mind. A man made of light and thought, as it were.