Review - Money Shot #1 (@thevaultcomics)

"Anyway, this job is so much more complex than I imagined. Picking locations, doing research, finding species with compatible sex organs..."

Life as a scientist is hard enough without having to worry about funding. Typically, one can count on the government to provide funding for a project. What if the government isn't keen on funding anything--where does one find the money? In Money Shot #1 from Vault Comics, that question is answered. The issue is written by Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie, illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs, colored by Kurt Michael Russell and lettered by Crank!.

In the near future, space travel is ludicrously expensive and largely ignored. Enter Christine Ocampos, inventor of the Star Shot teleportation device. Her big idea: She'll travel to new worlds, engage-intimately-with local aliens, and film her exploits for a jaded earth populace trying to find something new on the internet. Now, Chris and her merry band of scientist-cum-pornstars explore the universe, each other, and the complexities of sex. A story about scientists having sex with aliens for the glory of mankind-and money.

There's a very political bent in the first issue and neither Seeley nor Beattie are shy about hiding their approach, steeping the seemingly dystopian future in a setting not far off from the seemingly dystopian present. Christine Ocampos is a scientist who firmly believes in her work, but the roadblocks of funding and a government hostile to learning get in the way and send her and her team down an unexpected path. Seeley and Beattie do a great job of setting up the premise of the book, effectively laying it out very plainly for the reader that the scientists are doing porn with aliens to pay the bills. The dialogue is bawdy and fittingly tied to each character, all of whom seem to jump into their new profession without any hesitation at all. And that's probably the biggest shortcoming of the book in that the characters' readiness to strip and have sex on camera seems to come exceedingly easy; the likelihood that five friends would so readily put themselves in that position (or positions) seems a little far-fetched at some points.

Isaacs' artwork is a phenomenal approach that really captures the seemingly outlandish plot with an emphasis on fun character designs and layouts. Each of the characters have their own unique looks that seem to match their disparate personalities well and all of them are very attractive in a way that would make the whole premise of the book work. Isaacs relies on a very delicate linework for each of the characters, capturing the folds in their clothes and the various facial expressions in response to the different ideas and scenarios playing out. There's some fun designs on display on the part of the aliens as well, showing that Isaacs is aiming to have some fun with the character design that could get even zanier as the series progresses. Russell infuses the book with plenty of life through his colors, framing the book in a way that makes it seem very near-future.

Money Shot #1 is a play on words with the main experiment at the center of the book, but it's an obvious double-entendre as well. Christine has a somewhat outlandish idea to make enough money to fund said experiment and how the characters respond to the new challenges will make for a fun read. Seeley and Beattie are clearly enjoying pulling no punches with coarse dialogue and saucy situations. There's very much an interesting look to the character models where Isaacs blends together the right amount of realism with camp so as not to lose sight of the overarching theme of the book. Money Shot #1 is a very appropriate title for the issue as it has a lot of narrative it wants to unload on the reader.

Money Shot #1 is available October 23.