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Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #5

voracious Feeding Time CoverI’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes lately, frequently playing the bands two albums in sequential order for hours on end through my headphones as I plug away at the Day Job and then as I walk home. I’ve described their music as akin to a pissed off Foo Fighters, but that doesn’t begin to do the chugging, fast paced groove laden songs any justice – the music has connected with me in a way that I can’t quite comprehend, and after listening to the two albums hundreds of times over the past couple of months, I’m showing no signs of fatigue. The music won’t be for everybody, and I’m well aware of that, but for me the two albums presently released represent just over an hour of the finest slice of anger and melody recorded. 

After only spending a few months with the music, I know that I’ll enjoy it for years to come.

I can just as easily say the exact same thing about Voracious.

There’s something about this series that has just clicked for me; the elevator pitch is usually enough to sell anybody on the story (time travelling chef hunts dinosaurs to serve in his diner), but after two miniseries that pitch doesn’t begin to do the story justice – and nor can I in a spoiler free review, because it’s hard for me to believe that this issue represents only the second time that Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr have finished a comic book miniseries. I don’t remember the last time that I read a story arc from either Marvel or DC that was told this well or illustrated as wonderfully as the first two chapters in the Voracious trilogy. Muhr’s layouts in the opening of this comic are wonderful; with a textless first page he tells a story that a thousand words would struggle to tell – I was genuinely in awe when reading the review copy, and were it not for a Diamond Distribution snafu with my LCS I’d have been sat staring at the comic already.

I’m always impressed when a page is laid out in an interestingly inventive way, and the first page of this comic is simple in it’s elegance – yet it’s all the stronger for it. But not only is Muhr on top form, but colourist Andrei Tabacaru brings the already great artwork into the level of sheer beauty that you don’t see as often as you’d like. I would recommend you buy this comic for the art alone, but Naso delivers another flawless issue. Honestly, at this point I’d be surprised if he didn’t.

This series has constantly impressed me over the course of it’s nine issues, and if memory serves, I don’t think I have ever rated a series as high as I have Voracious.  

Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr reminded me of why I loved comics with the first miniseries, and with Feeding Time they have reminded me of just how good sequential art can be. If this is what these men can do on their first and second story arc, then the industry can expect some bloody brilliant things from them in the future.

If I read a better series this year, then I’ll be shocked. Voracious: Feeding Time has set the bar pretty bloody high.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colourist: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided a FREE copy for review, but I will be purchasing this issue when my LCS gets it in, as well as the trade.

Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #4

voracius feeding time 4The last issue of this comic knocked me down several times over. The creators were on the to of their game in every way; Markisan Naso‘s emotional story and character interactions gut punched me into next Thursday, only for Jason Muhr‘s art and layouts to bounce me through to the following TuesdayAndrei Tabacaru‘s coloring work was the cherry on top of an emotional thunder punch of a story that had me reeling for days afterwards. 

Voracious: Feeding Time #3 has a very real chance of remaining my favorite single issue of the year.

It therefore seems somewhat unfair to compare this issue to the last because the emotional roller coaster of issue three isn’t as immediately evident in the fourth issue, but before you start to think that makes Feeding Time #4 a lesser issue, stop. The fourth issue will still give you things to think about, albeit with a level of subtlety that requires you to give the issue some time to digest in your brain (unless you’re able to pick up on these things faster than I was).

With the fourth issue of the miniseries, Naso gives you a moment to catch your breath with a sequence that, despite the very science fiction setting and ominous overtones, evokes the same sense of innocence that Nate and Starlee’s banter does in earlier issues. Although there’s a much heavier taste of futuristic science fiction present in this issue the comic retains the distinctlyVoracious feel with it’s characterization and humanity. At first the conversations that the saurian scientists have in this issue and the earlier interactions between Nate and Starlee have very little in common with each other, but once you remove the context of each conversation the tone remains very familiar allowing the reader to gain a level of familiarity with these otherwise alien-to-us-beings on an instinctual level. 

Little touches like this are a prime reason as to why I am such a huge fan of the series; there are some brilliant moments in each issue that jump out at you the first time you read the comic, that you can sometimes miss the more subtle, but equally brilliant, moments littered throughout each comic. The fourth issue of Feeding Time was weighted toward the more subtler side of the coin, and although it did take me a second read to pick up, the comic is so much more if you give it time to percolate in your mind.

Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabacaru continue to deliver a visual treat with each issue, easily justifying the price of admission alone. Muhr is able to convey those unspoken words between characters, effortlessly moving the story along in the absence of words that showcases the synchronicity between the series creators as they continue to publish one of the most exciting books of the year.

I fucking love this book, and if you give it a chance then you will too.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colours: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #3

PrintMy first reaction upon reading this issue was, and I quote, Bloody Hell, Markisan. Bloody fucking Hell.

When was the last time you read a genuinely amazing comic that made your jaw drop so fast it nearly dislocated? For me it was ten minutes ago when I opened the PDF review copy of creators Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s Voracious: Feeding Time #3. It was an issue that I have been looking forward to for some time, and yet despite my high expectations, I was utterly blown away. I just…  it’s just so bloody awesome.

Markisan Naso has got to be one of the most exciting comic book writers to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and this is his second miniseries. He has an uncanny ability to convey so much emotion through his narration and dialogue, and you feel like you’ve known his characters all your life when you hear them speak, but watching them come alive with Jason Muhr’s artwork is astonishing. As much as the writing gets you into the characters, it’s Muhr’s layouts, and the way he composes his pages that elevate this comic into pure brilliance. I’m aware I’m sounding overly hyperbolic here, but Naso and Muhr have created a wonder comic here; Voracious: Feeding Time #3 is like a man who has been eating gas station beef jerky finally gets to eat a fillet mignon.

These are men you need to keep your eyes on.

Out of respect for the creators, joined again by colourist Andrei Tabacaru, I won’t spoil any thing about the issue. But it’s easily the best single issue I have read in a long time, with more nuances and subtle hints than you’d ever expect in a comic book. You often hear people say that something is the culmination of everything that came before it, and that has never been more accurate than with Feeding Time #3; if you’ve read the other issues of Voracious and Voracious: Feeding Time, then you’re going to thoroughly thoroughly enjoy every page of this issue.

It’s only February, and I’m pretty sure this will be the best single issue I’ll read all year; the bar has been set pretty fucking high from here on out. Having said that, if you intend on  reading this comic based entirely on this review without reading any of the previous issues, then you’ll be doing yourself, and the story, a huge disservice. This issue is a complete and utter work of art, and one of the most astonishing comics I’ve read in some time, but without reading at least the first two issues of this series then you’ll think I’m touched if read Feeding Time #3. It’s a phenomenal comic, but it’s not the best jumping on point. There’s not enough of you reading this series, and you’re all missing out.

I have no idea how Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr will top this, but I can’t wait to find out.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colours: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 11 Art: 10 Overall: 11 (that’s not a typo, this review goes to eleven) Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided a FREE copy for review. I’m also buying a print copy when the comic is released because the art looks so much better on the paper than my laptop screen.

Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #2

voracious-ft-2-coverIf you’ve been reading Voracious then you’re going to love this issue. If you haven’t been reading Voracious then you are missing out on one of the most underrated comic books of the year with a concept so uniquely interesting that you wonder why it has never been thought of before (but if it had, then there is no way it would have been done as well as Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr are doing it here); a time travelling dinosaur hunting chef, who serves dinosaur steaks.

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?

At this point, if you’ve been following anything I’ve been writing about the series then it should come as no surprise that I’m a fan – it did land Best Mini-Series or One Shot in my Best Of 2016 list, after all. But with that love of all things Voracious comes a pretty high set of expectations with each subsequent issue that the creators have met effortlessly each time. As ingenious as the concept of time-traveling chef Nate Willner opening a diner using dinosaur meat is, there’s only so far that concept will go before the food goes stale. Voracious: Feeding Time #1 immediately allayed that concern with the introduction of some new characters and a glimpse at the consequences of the first arc.

This issue we’re back with the staff of our favorite diner, and we see… look out of respect for you, the creators, and my own reluctance to divulge spoilers I’m not going recap the issue here. Suffice to say that yet again Naso, Muhr and colourist Andrei Tabacaru have delivered another amazing chapter in a series that continues to amaze me – even more impressive a feat considering how much I expect from the series now.

Story: Marisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colourist: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy (but make sure this isn’t your first issue, or it may not make as much sense to you).

Action Lab provided a FREE copy for review, but I will be buying a copy Wednesday

Review: Voracious #4

Voracious_04_digital-1If you discovered time travel, what would you do? Would you visit important historical moments, buy rare collectibles (not always comic based) before they became rare? Personally I’d make sure I had a few comics from the late 30’s and early 40’s, maybe buy a lottery ticket…

What I wouldn’t do is start hunting dinosaurs so I could use the meat in a newly opened diner. But that’s just me. Thankfully Nate Wilner isn’t me because he did just that, and the results have been fantastic.

Voracious’ time-traveling dinosaur-hunting to fuel a diner concept works so well that I’m amazed it hasn’t been explored before (if it has, then I’m unaware of it). But as awesome as the idea of opening a restaurant using dinosaur meat is, more times than I can count an awesome idea idea has been let down by some sloppy writing and/or characterization. That’s not the case here, and indeed couldn’t be farther from the truth. Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr have created a story that after four issues has reminded me of why I love comics.

You could be excused for thinking a comic featuring a time travelling dinosaur hunter is more fluff than anything else, and as much as I love the concept, it’s not the main reason that this series has me sold; Voracious is also a story about coping with loss, and honouring those who may not be in your life anymore while simultaneously reminding you to value and treasure the life you have. That may sound very high concept for a comic, but it’s done so well that you won’t feel belittled by the emotional undertones if you just want to enjoy a story about a man who serves dinosaur burgers.

Voracious #4 is probably the best comic I’ve read this week – which is high praise from me in a week that has the superb 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot – and it’s a series you absolutely need to read.

Story Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colour Art: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab: Danger Zone provided a FREE copy for review

Review: Voracious #2

Voracious_02-1If you had access to a time machine, there would be any number of things that you could do with the freedom that such a machine would offer you; you could go forward time and find out the winning lottery numbers, find a brand new copy of Action Comics #1 (or any other comic, really), you could be present at certain pivotal moments of human history… the list, honestly, is endless.

What you probably wouldn’t do is kill a dinosaur and make some burgers from its flesh, but that’s exactly what Nate Willner did right before opening his first restaurant that’s predicated entirely on feeding people freshly killed pre-historic meat.

The first issue of Voracious took me entirely by surprise; I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it nearly half as much as I did (indeed, it sat unread for nearly three weeks before I finally picked it up), but after reading it I was really excited for the second issue. I wanted to see just where Markisan Naso would take the story, and what new recipes Nate Willner would cook up.

There’s something genuinely fun about this outlandish idea, and I can’t get enough of it. While this issue had more of a focus of Nate’s new diner, there was still some great prehistoric scenes that serve remind the reader that, while he can travel through time, Nate Willner is no Cable. It’s this every-man  aspect to Nate’s character that really draws you in; he could very easily be your friend, brother… maybe even yourself. Whether you would decide to open a diner that feeds dinosaur meet, were you able to is entirely up to  you.

If you’re looking for a comic that has a dash of science fiction flavoring cooking with no hint of spandex around then look no further. Voracious is the series you never knew your were looking for.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colors: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Voracious #1

VoraciousCoverThis is my second adventure within the “golden era of food comics.” I already almost passed on another title in this genre because of my prejudices, and didn’t want to risk another faux pas. As I stared at the cover of Voracious #1, I wondered how can this possibly work–dinosaurs and a cleaver wielding celebrity chef–but work it does. This book is a testament to what good writing, exciting visuals, and some well placed panels can accomplish. Plus, the double sized, 64 page, first issue is relatively cheap at its $4.99 cover price.

Markisan Naso‘s story begins with Nate, a highly successful New York City budding star chef, who upon losing it all, goes back home, to a dead end diner job in Black Fossil, Utah. It isn’t too long before good fortune falls upon our hero again, and he inherits a large sum of money and a home in the mountains complete with amenities, such as a dream kitchen and a time-traveling science lab.

The supporting cast also lends drama and humor to the story. We have a Bowie Knife wielding Grandma Maribel, who is more than she seems. There’s Jenna, the long distance girlfriend who always knows best; and Starlee Parker, Nate’s new partner, who also happens to be in love with him. Lastly, there is Jim, the caring family friend. Not much is said about him, but I’m sure we’ll see more of the warrior in future issues given his Army experience.

Oh, and I almost forgot the most important ingredient: dinosaurs! There are lots of dinosaurs!  You’ll have to buy it for yourself to see how Naso puts it all together, but you should at least know that there is a mouth-watering Quetzalcoatlus Saltimboca recipe on the inside back cover that I’ll be trying out for this Sunday’s dinner (but unfortunately, I’ll have to resort to the recommended chicken substitution to cook my meal).

Story: Markisan Naso  Art, Lettering, and Design: Jason Muhr
 Color Art: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

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