cover image Ex-Purgatory


Peter Clines. Broadway (, $14 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-8041-3661-7

The fourth episode in Clines’s genre-blending Ex series (after Ex-Communication) puts an unusual twist on the superheroes/zombie apocalypse mash-up. George, Madelyn, and a handful of other people living normal lives share dreams of a parallel dimension where they’re heroes fighting the undead. Soon inconsistencies creep into the waking world and reality blurs. As they fight to claim their heroic identities and figure out what’s actually real, they begin to raise questions about the implausibility of their situation. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Normal Again” is an obvious touchstone, and other genre shows and films are clearly referenced throughout. Clines has always written with a pop culture sensibility, but he’s got a new air of confidence in his characters and worldbuilding that allows the series to go off at a 90-degree angle and still stay faithful to its roots. Fans of the previous installments will enjoy the growth, but while there’s plenty of exposition, new readers will be best served by starting the series at the beginning. (Jan.)