Dear Marble Gang,
Sadly despite a hectic and action-filled cover the fourth issue of Brand Echh fell short of it predecessors in terms of laughs. It's a great notion to flip the scripts and have the bad guys win, but it seems to have made for some too-long and not very fun-filled yarns.
The strongest of the three tales was "If Magneat-O Should Clobber Us" by reliable Roy Thomas and new-find Tom Sutton which is confused but succeeds ultimately by the sheer volume of attempted gags and crammed in jokes. The "chicken fat" in this one would make the Elder proud and the final gag is a winner for sure.
"Kayoed by Krank!" by Gary Friedrich and Marie Severin comes in next on the list and it succeeds mostly on the strength of Marie's always entertaining artwork. Having "Prince No-More" displaced is a good joke and plays well on what actually happens in the pages of Tales to Astonish, but beyond cramming in every soggy star from TV and comics we've heard of, there was little going on.
""Defeated by the Evil Electrico" sadly was a disappointment. I love Gene Colan's take on Daredevil and he brings some of that magic here too, but the story was addled and beyond the premise seemed to offer nothing much, and the closing gag was a major dud.
What I think was the matter is that the stories were too long. In the previous issue the seven to eight page length was right for spoofing the origins, but here the simple twist of having the villains prevail would've worked better in a taut four or five pages. Hopefully the next issue will be a return to glory.
Notes and Comments: This is the final issue of Brand Echh. After this issue it will be known officially as Not Brand Echh as the cover has suggested since the beginning. The problem with the stories in this issue is simply that they are just one joke each and that joke keeps getting reiterated over and over again as the stories struggle on. Cutting the length of these to four pages (with the possible exception of the X-Men parody) would have done much to make them snappier and more effective. There then would have been room for a whole new story. But artistically this is still a strong issue with three dandy talents making it look good at least. The sad fact is that most of this issue just ain't all that funny. Things will get better I know.
Below are the covers of the comics which most likely inspired the stories in this comics.