Advanced Review: Voracious Feeding Time #1

Voracious_Vol.2_01_KS_VariantWhen I read the first issue of Voracious, the four-issue miniseries by writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr and colourist Andrei Tabucaru I immediately fell in love with the series’ incredibly well crafted story, the luscious artwork, and the humour that seemed to flow from the pages with such an incredibly deft pace. In a year with some truly brilliant stories released in comics, from Valiant’s Divinity II, Titan Comics’ Johnny Red and Image’s The Goddamned and Huck, the first Voracious miniseries is still the one sitting at the top of my Best Of 2016 List, in part because of the notion of a dinosaur sandwich, but more so because of the sheer enjoyment the series gave me.

I honestly couldn’t believe it was the creators Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr‘s first published comic. So when I saw that the two had launched a Kickstarter to fund the second series, I jumped at the chance to back what turned out to be my first Kickstarter, only to find out that there was no international shipping (I live in Canada). After a quick email or two, a solution was found, I made  my pledge, and did a little to help the comic get successfully backed.

The digital Kickstarter rewards have been emailed out, including the first issue of Voracious: Feeding Time; a comic that I’ve read twice since receiving it in my inbox.

There’s going to be spoilers for the first series from here on out, so if you haven’t read that yet, do so. Do so now.

As ingenious as the concept of time-traveling chef Nate Willner opening a diner using dinosaur meat is, it was the subtle, almost throwaway line that while killing things in the past may not be the best idea (what with the future consequences, and all), hunting dinosaurs in the past won’t have any impact on our future because the asteroid destroys everything anyway, so why worry?

But what if it wasn’t our past that Nate was returning too? What if his actions were having unintended consequences that he was utterly oblivious too?

That’s the question that Naso asked in the final pages of the original Voracious, and there’s no time wasted as Feeding Time #1 begins in a wonderfully realized alternate timeline introducing Gus Horncrusher, an evolved dinosaur detective who is struggling to remember something that he’s forgotten. It doesn’t take long to figure out why he’s forgotten what he has or who’s fault it is, but by emphasizing the obvious emotional thoughts that Gus is going through Naso allows the audience to immediately switch our position on the dino detective (I can’t be the only one who assumed he’d be the villain in this arc); his ability to infuse so much personality and emotion into the character in such a short time is nothing short of amazing.

A big part of the immediate sense you get of knowing Gus and his partner is down to Jason Muhr’s artwork. I’m reminded page after page just how good this guy is at what he does, whether it’s because of the all-too-human expressions on the very non-human faces, the glimpses of forgotten memories, or the panel layouts, Muhr has delivered the best looking comic in the series to date. But if Jason Muhr has hit a home run, then Andrei Tabucaru has sent the ball out of the park with his colouring work. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name on the Eisner nominations next year.

While both Naso and Muhr have said that Voracious: Feeding Time can be read independently of the first miniseries, you can pick the first trade up at your local comic shop for a very reasonable $15. It’s worth every penny for you to get the most out of this comic.

A comic with only one, albeit pretty major, downside: the long wait to the second issue. Y’see, with issue #1 hitting shelves in December, the disadvantage to the Kickstarter reward is that there’s going to be at least a two month wait until I get my hands on the second issue.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colourist: Andrei Tabucaru
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy