Money Shot #3 Review

by Jay Hill on December 17, 2019

Written by: Tim Seeley & Sarah Beattie
Art by: Rebekah Isaacs
Colors by: Kurt Michael Russell
Lettered by: Crank!
Published by: Vault Comics

The crew of the Money Shot may have jumped into their naughty explorations of the galaxy a little too soon. They now find themselves separated and imprisoned on an alien planet. But, with the Bokai Elder’s knowledge, maybe they’ll be able to come out on top, or bottom, or whatever they’re into.

This may have been the most well-rounded issue since the #1. When the flashback dynamic was introduced in the last issue, I was initially perturbed but was won over as it went on. In this issue, that dynamic is not only used perfectly but breaks up the tone of the story to leave the whole issue feeling much more well-formed; it stays flowing until the surprising end. And, the flashback scenes are used to develop the characters with some of the best interactions yet. The scenes explore the “dates” Dr. Christine Ocampo set up for the crew to get to know each other better. The crew gets to see the more intimate sides of their co-workers (and future co-stars), and as a result of that, so does the reader. I’ve seen very few, if any, stories give such a raw look at their characters and it acts as an interesting way to introduce more of their complexities. It’s such an unfiltered look at the characters, I can see some readers being put off by it but that would be their loss. Lots of stories have been called “needed”, but I feel this is a narrative that was truly needed. The writers have created a story to explore many situations and present many ideas not attempted to be done in any other media. I feel the term “sex-positive” is cliché and/or misused, but this would deserve that identifier. It presents sex as not “scary” or “that big of a deal”, but also as “powerful” and “significant”. The entire narrative, being a comedy, also has a wink added to all the real subjects it tackles; the balancing act achieved is to be applauded.

But that is just one aspect of Money Shot, and this is the issue that exemplifies that the most. While the past scenes focus on the crew’s bonding, the present shows the predicament their exploration has put them in. After being caught by the Warlord, Dr. Ocampo and Omar are now being forced to copulate with it for its own sinister reasonings. The rest of the team is still trying to convince the Bokai Elder to share his knowledge with them. The situation, being cut up with flashbacks, stays intriguing throughout. It brings in more of the lore of the alien world they and moves the story forward while making the stakes clearer than ever. Along with the flashback being a high-point for development, this was a high-point for the Star Trek-ish space exploration storyline. By the closing moments of the issue, every aspect of the series is at a new level.

The art may be the secret component in holding together this comic. Rebekah Isaacs' art is not just beautifully modern, and I use the word modern to express a style that presents a fresh feeling to what some call “the fundamentals”, but she always puts expression at the forefront of any scene. There is seemingly no panel in which the character(s) drawn don’t understandably have their feelings of the moment on display; take away the word balloons and you’d still understand how the characters are reacting. Especially in a story filled with moments that could be used to throw in a cheap shot for “eye-candy” Isaacs keeps the focus on developing the characters. She’s one of the most obvious examples of a comic artist knowing the characters just as well as the writers and is another reason why this comic can do what it does so well. And, like the writing, she can execute the character development as well as the grand sci-fi adventure. The splash page in this issue shows that off, along with all the other inspired illustrations she does of the alien world. And, I couldn’t wait until the next issue to say how much I love the cover for issue #4 because I do love it. Kurt Michael Russell's colors accentuate the art ideally. Isaacs as a way of drawing her lines, seen best in the cheekbones or the curves on muscle and flesh, that leave the figures with a “pop-y” angular feel and Russell's colors play to that perfectly. He shades them in a way to give them an almost three-dimensional depth. He uses nicely placed lighting and sheens to bring out the lines drawn. And, his palette is unique. I'm unable to put my figure on it, but it adds to the “modern” aesthetic I mentioned.

This issue delves deeper into the characters. It explores how they’ve reached a point to be comfortable with each other enough to lay everything out in front of a camera. And, it also shows, while they may know each other quite well now, they may not have known what to expect from the aliens they would encounter. Like one of the Money Shot crew’s scenes, this issue builds to satisfying finish and leads into the appropriately named next issue, “Afterglow”.

Our Score:


A Look Inside