Mount a Rescue carries all the hallmarks of a David Robertson comic; spontaneous, surreal, thoughtful and unpredictable in its varied themes and styles. Publishing under the Fred Egg Comics banner, Robertson’s comics are often unfocused; Mount a Rescue is no different. Its individual strips continue to pull in quirky directions, as Robertson’s comics will do. But as a cohesive statement, it doesn’t say anything his past comics haven’t already said. Perhaps because there’s rarely a cohesive statement in his comics. That’s not a direct criticism, but more of a reflection of the spontaneous style of comics he makes.
The best strips in Mount a Rescue are those that are more experimental and colourful in their structure, rather than the most black-and-white material at work. The three-page Water (Load of Rubbish) taps into the same stripped-back sense of unease that we saw in the Nando strip from Wow! Retracted, and is easily the best strip in Mount a Rescue. This is perhaps unintentionally reflected in its lead character being prominently featured on the comic’s front cover.
Elsewhere, the opening 7-page Los Angeles, November 2019 is a tribute to Blade Runner. It recalls another aspect of Fred Egg Comics we’ve discussed previously. This strip sees Robertson narrate his personal relationship with the film and how it impacted him. That sense of nostalgic reflection for a piece of sci-fi media is oddly commonplace throughout his work, and adds a personable touch to his comics. A handful of comics geared around interpretations and parodies of various Star Wars films stretch this concept further.
Much of the other material is somewhat listless. They lack the witty spark that so often drives the momentum in a Fred Egg Comic. Even Robertson’s dip into his usual pool of guest artists doesn’t totally liven things up. What it does do is add further degrees of personality. Norrie Millar‘s contributions to Woman’s Faces injects a biting energy into the one-page story of beauty products. Olivia Hicks‘ A Good Memory bristles with a low-key sense of humour that happily embraces the trademark deadpan nature of Robertson’s story-telling.
There’s a great deal in Mount a Rescue that just isn’t as engaging as other Fred Egg Comics. But a few stand-out strips easily display Robertson’s distinctive voice within the small press scene. Mount a Rescue‘s greatest flaw then is how the average formula of a Fred Egg Comic can crumble into tonal disparity. Whilst some gems manage to shine through, Mount a Rescue shows that Robertson’s brand of anthology-style small press collections doesn’t always hit home. All the usual characteristics of a decent Fred Egg Comic are there, and its high points are entertaining. But Mount a Rescue fails to be as distinctive as other titles Robertson has published.