Review: Voracious #3

Voracious is a title that, indeed like a fossil, gets more and more interesting with age. At the same time, it’s a book that I’ve felt has been chasing its own potential, being armed with such an interesting concept, but also laden with bouts of overwriting and a visual style that didn’t always work well enough to accentuate its positives while downplaying its negatives. However, in this, its third issue, Voracious has realized its promise and has become the book I’ve been waiting for all this time. Markisan Naso balances his story this issue expertly between a t-rex hunting excursion and the more metaphorically bloodthirsty pursuit of a town’s sheriff for the truth behind the funding and overnight success story of our main protagonist Nate’s new restaurant...which is, of course, preparing and selling the aforementioned t-rex meat, amongst other ill-gotten dinosaur fare.

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg with this story so far. It also has a foul-mouthed-yet-prophetic Native American grandmother whose hallucinogenic portents of the future are becoming at once more hopeful and foreboding, as well as the looming threat of a love triangle being brought to bear in its small own setting.

Varacious #3Of course, Voracious really is all about the dinosaurs - mostly the killing and eating of same -  and Naso again works well in building his story up this issue in what will almost assuredly be a fall, with some interesting plans sure to hatch in forthcoming issues. But perhaps his greatest achievement this time wasn’t that foreshadowing, but his natural dialogue, which, while already a series highlight, felt much more distilled and keenly focused this time.

The relationships he highlights this issue could easily become exercises in maudlin storytelling in lesser hands, but Naso handles both their gravity, and especially their levity, in equally impressive measure. His only misstep is small, but one I mentioned as a massive pet peeve previously: Nobody, as far as I know, actually calls his or her sister “sis.”

That is a phrase reserved almost exclusively for bad sitcoms and as a cheap expository device in comic books. I admit it’s a tiny, even petulant thing to harp on about, but it bugs me to no end, especially because Naso is better than that; he doesn’t need that kind of storytelling crutch. To a lesser but similat extent, I’m pretty sure nobody in New York actually calls it “The Big Apple” out loud. But I digress...

The art, too, is more competent this time than it has been previously. The backgrounds are still sparse portraits, but Jason Muhr seems to be taking more time and care with his figure work than earlier issues; though his facial acting continues to be impressively on-point. His dinosaur illustrations also remain hot as hell. Seriously, somebody put this guy on a Devil Dinosaur book, stat.

Muhr’s page landscaping still feels to be fairly by-the-numbers stuff, but there were one or two pages where it was clear that he was having some fun experimenting. It’s in these where he finds the most success as a visual conductor, and it would be great to see him take that kind of chance, and charge, more often.

Given the trajectory of this book so far, it’s almost a sure bet that we’ll see his evolution, as well as Naso’s as a writer, happen as it occurs, which I’m looking forward to quite a bit. In fact, after reading this issue, I have to say I’m the most excited I’ve been about Voracious since hearing its name and reading its solicits. This is a fantastic example of a creative team picking up its ball and running like hell with it. Great work, all around.

[button btn_url="" btn_color="teal" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 4/5[/button]

Voracious #3 Writer: Markisan Naso Artist/Letterer: Jason Muhr Colorist: Andrei Tabacaru Publisher: Action Lab: Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/13/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital