Last time, I called Voracious a book of two halves: one fantastic, the other... a bit less-so. Well, I’m happy to report that in its second issue, this book has cut the fat and served up a lean, toothsome medley of story, with only a bare amount of gristle left over. I am happy indeed that I came back for seconds. With his dinosaur restaurant dream now a reality, thanks to an estate left him by a reclusive time-traveling uncle, as well as the funding of friends and family, chef Nate Willner is making a killing as a restauranteur. Literally. But while there is indeed a helping of gruesome “dino-sourcing” this go around, most of this issue focuses again on the lives of Nate and those around him.
These sundry hangers-on include, but are not limited to, his motorcycle-riding grandmother, who harbors deadly secrets; a family friend, who owns a fucking mini-gun and for some reason is proficient in tomahawkery; an unrequited love interest, who totally steals the show; and a local sheriff/childhood acquaintance, who suspects something strange afoot at the “Fork & Fossil,” which is just adjacent enough to cursing to bring me great sophomoric joy.
In fact, that’s something I really enjoy about his book: the way writer Markisan Naso nails its voice, and the apparent ease with which he is able to land much of its humor. Sure, there are a few moments where he maybe serves up too heavy a dollop of sass; but for the most part, the dialogue here is fresh, fun, and (dare I say it) biting. The only time I thought it really waned (and even here, not egregiously) was in the conversation between granny Maribel and The Captain; but everything else felt rapid-fire, such that it kept pace quite well in a book with very little real action.
Speaking of that action, however, I have to note how much I enjoy the fact that, even though Nate is decked out in a super-heavy mech-suit, presumably designed to withstand the rigors of both time travel and dinosaurs, he still airs out dinosaur necks with kitchen knives. It’s called commitment to craft, folks.
Luckily, there is also a commitment to craft, not just in Nate’s murder spree or Naso’s writing, but in the visual direction of Jason Muhr and colorist Andrei Tabacaru. That’s not to say this issue isn’t without its shortcomings, of course. Firstly, and in full disclosure, my review copy was crazy-pixelated and fettered heavily beneath Action Lab watermarks. But ignoring that as I must, the backgrounds in this book are often barely-there, giving the whole a sparse, local TV soundstage feel. It also suffers from some stiff and unwieldy figure work at times.
However, what it loses in its lack of polish, it makes up for in the glossy charm of its facial acting and the impressive, but unfortunately not-pervasive-enough displays of action; such as the aforementioned fight scene between Nate and some vicious prehistoric beasts and behemoths, or the bloodstained and evocative flashback scene Maribel has on her bike.
Voracious has some truly great things going on in it, both in the story itself, and in some of its periphery; that recipe for “Dr. Kay’s Troodon Sausage Stuffing” is a nice touch, for example. I continue to thoroughly enjoy this book, and remain hungry for more to come!
Voracious #2 Writer: Markisan Naso Artist/Letterer: Jason Muhr Colorist: Andrei Tabacaru Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $4.99 Release Date: 3/9/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital