Underrated: Voracious: Feeding Time

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Voracious: Feeding Time.

Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru have a new comic coming out in 2021, By The Horns. Because of the fact that these three have created one of my all time favourite series, I’m going to revisit the three volumes over the next couple of months. You can find the first column on Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives here.

Published by Action Lab, Voracious: Feeding Time is written by Markisan Naso and drawn and lettered by Jason Muhr, with the co-creators being joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru. The first volume can usually grab your attention with the shortest of descriptions: “time travelling chef makes dinosaur sandwiches.”

It sounds awesome, right? Well, that’s because it is. But it’s also so much more than just that elevator pitch. The second volume is better than the first, but it also takes a left turn when the dinosaur cops Owen and Gus are introduced. You see while Nate may have been travelling back in time to hunt dinosaurs, our assumption was always that they’d be wiped out by an asteroid so no biggie, right? Only Nate hadn’t just been bouncing back in time, but rather into an alternate dimension/timeline where dinosaurs would evolve into intelligent beings.

As you can imagine, hunting the dinosaurs that would eventually evolve is having a disastrous effect on the future of that world as people disappear and are forgotten as their ancestors are turned into burgers and steaks.

It’s a stunning reversal in the story when you realize that Nate, the sympathetic lead of the first volume is also an accidentally diabolical villain in this volume. Or he would be if Naso wasn’t able to continue weaving a tale where you want Gus and Owen to stop the man responsible for Gus’ wife’s disappearance but you also want to make sure that Nate’s business doesn’t go under.

Voracious: Feeding Time has one of my favourite comics within it (issue three) – the entire volume is brilliant, but it certainly peaks around the third issue with the combination of art and writing reaching a height that Voracious hadn’t yet seen. This was the issue when I realized the creative team were destined to write some fantastic comics together. Voracious: Feeding Time is an absolute joy to explore as we witness the series transition from the first volume’s fun to a deep treatise about memory and the importance of cherishing those in your life.

Voracious is one of the few series where I own both the floppy issues and the trades as, like I said in the last column:

“I put my money where my mouth is because Voracious is a wonderful breath of fresh air in an industry that has been choking on relaunches and rehashes; the five issues that make up Feeding Time are some of the highest scored comics that I have reviewed for Graphic Policy.

If you’re tired of reading about superheroes fighting each other and you want a story to take you across the emotional spectrum without the use of glowing rings then you need look no further. While the comic is about a time traveling, dinosaur hunting chef, it’s also a powerful look into what makes us who we are and how. It’s a story about mistakes and loss, and most importantly coping with those things.

If you want more Voracious, then you can check out the episode of GP Radio where we talked all about the dinosaur sandwiches with both Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr. The new book, by the same team, will be launching February 28th.

Unless the comics industry ceases to exist this week, Underrated will return next week.