Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Berserkotron Creator(s): David Robertson
Publishers: Fred Egg Comics (Self Published)
From: UK
Price: $2 or .99pound(UK)

This is the second [and final] part in David Robinson’s tale of growing up and robot wars. A strange combination but one that actually does make a certain amount of sense. After all there is a fairly natural juxtaposition going on here between the emotionless world of robots and the emotional turmoil that is part and parcel of growing up.

Essentially this is a story that follows a small group of young men as they build a robot to compete in the robot battle that is to take place at the local town hall. At least that is what the story is about on a superficial level. What Beserkotron is really about is a group of high school mates who have outgrown each other. This realisation and the accompanying tension as their friendships disintegrate is what really fuels this comic.

What Robertson does is to explore the tensions between these young men who are on the verge of somewhat reluctantly joining the adult, post -school world and then chart their development and progress.

The art work is nothing stunning and remains fairly rudimentary throughout. This feeling is enhanced by a very orthodox approach to page layout where the majority of pages employ a 12 frame approach –each frame being exactly the same size]. The overall effect is that visually Beserkotron does become a little repetitive.

Robertson is to be commended in the way he has attempted to create believable characters through his use of realistic and authentic dialogue. When this works it is very effective and convincing however it does not always work. At times the dialogue is just that •dialogue, there are too many phone conversations in the first half of the comic and they fail to drive the narrative. As a result the impetus is, in places, lost and the plot, as a result, meanders. I feel it all would have worked better if the editing process had been a little more rigorous. At least then some of the characters would not have become quite so annoying, but maybe that is Robertson’s point.

The cover does warn us that “sweary words” are contained within. They take a while to arrive but when they do they certainly are there to stay. I realise that they are used here to express just how frustrated the characters feel and therefore their use is justified but sometimes less is better and the use of the F word [six on one page alone] verges on the overkill.

Other than that the build up to the climatic battle of the robots is handled well, sadly the climax itself is disappointing and the evacuation of the town hall is glossed over far too quickly. Here was an event that was crying out for some visual fireworks as people attempt to vacate a burning building but instead we have an emotionless single frame.

So Beserkotron is far from perfect but it does effectively capture the anger and frustration experienced by all young man as they prepare for the adult world and that alone justifies its existence.

In a Word: Mechanical.

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