Advance Review – Money Shot #1 & 2 (Vault Comics)

Publisher: Vault Comics
Writers: Tim Seeley/Sarah Beattie
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colourist: Kurt Michael Russell
Letterer: Crank
Release Date: 23rd October 2019 (issue #1)

First contact is made by an advanced alien race with an offer to join the great civilisations of the cosmos. The offer is quickly withdrawn when the aliens realise what a shitshow Earth and humanity really is. A world run by greedy corrupt politicians fighting unnecessary wars for profit. Technologically incapable of building spacecraft that could advance their chances for enlightenment and too busy bickering amongst themselves, humanity gives up on any thoughts of interstellar relationships.

In 2032, the world’s governments have taken an anti-science stance and, in an economically crippled West, technological innovation is almost impossible.  Christine Ocampos, inventor of the Star Shot teleportation device, is desperately trying to fund her next project, and one night while looking for her favourite porn channel, stumbles across the answer to all their financial problems… Space Porn! Christine’s plan is to use Star Shot to travel the universe with the rest of her team, carrying out their research and funding it by screwing every Alien species they come into contact with, live on camera.

Vault have been consistently producing series after series that have been absolutely great, so I’m really happy to have yet another wonderful opportunity to read the first two issues of this one. First and foremost, Money Shot is not a porn comic. Sorry guys and girls. Yes, it deals with porn and is just about on the NSFW spectrum, but it’s not porn. Tim Seeley, best known for Hack/Slash and Revival has teamed up with SNL comedian Sarah Beattie to bring us a first contact sci-fi series that’s all about the contact.

That’s not all there is to this one though. Indeed, the set up for this story is a distinctly unsubtle socio-political commentary and a particularly scathing depiction of the current US administration. Let’s face it, with these two at the helm, I’d expect nothing less. This isn’t just a poke at Trump’s apparent joy at ignoring scientific fact, or the value of research (or, to be fair, complete sentences…), it’s also a commentary on the cult of media, and how self-absorbed we are, seemingly incapable of seeing the big picture if there’s no immediate gain for us. There is also a story about love within these pages, or at least how the physical often becomes the emotional, and how we deal with it.

So, that’s the set up, but does it deliver? Well, for the most part, it does. This is a series with a clear political agenda, but not one that it’s hitting you in the face with in every panel. The premise of the story is a good one and, for a sci-fi series, really isn’t that far-fetched. How many stories have you heard about university students working as strippers, or escorts to pay their bills? This is a more extreme example, true, but essentially the same story.

As a sci-fi story, we have a team of would-be science rock-stars, exploring the universe, looking for advanced technology, medicines and cultures. It’s not too dissimilar to an episode of Star Trek, albeit one without the backing of the Federation. Christine’s goal in these first couple of issues is to find an incredibly powerful power source whilst keeping ratings high enough to keep funding the mission. Nothing unusual there, but this power source is derived from an alien form of Tantric sex… There’s the usual pitfalls of being captured by alien slave traders, gladiatorial combat, and a seductive alien overlord who to be frank is, and thankfully for Christine, just looking for a decent orgasm.

Rebekah Issacs and Kurt Michael Douglas provide a rich and diverse universe for us to explore, with some great creature design and a cast of characters that are both unique and interesting. There’s a good, down to Earth feeling about these characters – they are, after all, just a group of scientists with an insane idea. They aren’t superheroes or soldiers and their interactions and reactions come across as so much more believable in the way they’re presented on the page.

Never taking itself too seriously, this new series is a huge amount of fun, although I think that it could be hard to keep the momentum up without slipping into a parody of itself, or starting to rely too heavily on the sex scenes to keep its readership. I do however, hope this series can keep up its steam. I’ve been massively impressed with Vault Comics recently, and it’s great to see the success their creators are having.

Rating 3.5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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