Last week, among all of the new Disney+ announcements, Marvel confirmed they will be creating a solo streaming series called Echo. The series will focus on the deaf, Indigenous hero of the same name and she will be played by Alaqua Cox. However, Echo will make her first appearance in the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye (premiering November 24), alongside Kate Bishop and Clint Barton.
Echo, otherwise known as Maya Lopez, is quickly rising to become an important fixture in the Marvel universe. Aside from her on-screen debut, she has recently gained massive new power in the comics — a cosmic power, in fact, that has doomed many characters before her. Let’s take a deeper look at this intriguing Marvel hero.
*spoilers ahead for current Marvel comics
Echo, Kingpin, and Daredevil
Maya Lopez’s story begins with her dad, Willie “Crazy Horse” Lincoln, and Kingpin in Daredevil (1998) #9. Both Maya and Willie are members of the Cheyenne Nation. At just nine years old, Maya had to endure her father’s murder at the hands of his employer, the infamous crimelord Kingpin. She was unable to save him but with his last few breaths he reached out to Maya’s face one more time, leaving her with her signature bloody handprint mark, as well as asking Kingpin to look after his daughter.
In school, Maya was placed in special education to accommodate her being deaf, but when she was able to recreate a piano composition with perfect ease, she was moved to gifted education classes. Maya flourished, especially with the arts. Her natural gifts were enhanced with the ability to mimic anything she sees, from performance art to fighting styles. Kingpin saw this and took note of Maya’s use in his ongoing efforts to destroy Daredevil.
When she got older and began asking questions about her father’s death, Kingpin blamed it on Daredevil. This would begin a long, complicated relationship with Matt Murdock — Maya fell in love with Matt (and he with her) while also being sent by Kingpin to kill Daredevil. Eventually, Daredevil revealed his identity to Maya and helped her uncover Kingpin’s deception. She then confronted the crime boss and temporarily blinded him in retaliation.
Before Hawkeye ever fought as Ronin, Maya Lopez held this title. Following her confrontation with Kingpin, Maya took some time away from the chaos in an effort to find herself. She even spent some time on The Rez with an elder from her tribe, who assisted Maya in completing a vision quest to reconnect with the passion for art that she had left behind.
But, of course, a hero is never away from the fight for long and when Daredevil turned down a mission with the New Avengers, he recommended Echo to take his place. Maya assumed the persona of Ronin, a guise to conceal her identity, and she worked with the New Avengers, becoming an enemy of Elektra Natchios. Elektra, as the leader of The Hand, would later murder Echo — but only after she had left her Ronin armor to be passed on to others who could avenge her. Eventually, Maya was resurrected and forged close alliances with Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Hawkeye, and Moon Knight throughout various missions and brushes with death.
A Phoenix Rises … from the Sea?
Echo’s most recent story arc has been pretty heated, and that’s all because of the Phoenix Force. Yep, that flaming space bird has been back at it, this time manifesting a cosmic tournament for select heroes to battle against each other and earn the right to host the Phoenix.
In the Enter the Phoenix saga, the Phoenix Force handpicked her would-be champions to represent a wide range of Marvel figures, from She-Hulk and Shang-Chi to Black Panther and Black Knight. Each fighter would face off against one opponent at a time while the others waited in the White Hot Room. As always, the Phoenix’s presence ignited many debates about power and who is worthy of handling such a volatile responsibility.
Though Namor defeats Echo in their battle, and leaves her for dead on the ocean floor, the Phoenix sees a fire in Echo that is unlike anything it’s ever encountered. In Echo, the Phoenix Force recognizes someone who knows suffering, who knows what it is to fall and get back up. Plus, Echo’s photographic reflexes will allow the Phoenix nearly unlimited ways of manifesting.
Phoenix Song: Echo #1, Echo’s solo series as she navigates being the Phoenix, is out now and the second issue is on sale November 24. Only time will tell whether Echo can prevent her mother’s ancestral line from being erased and also save herself from burning too brightly.
Echo has made a name for herself in the comics as a hero not to be crossed, but also as a woman of compassion and honor. She wields immense power, both on her own and from the cosmos, and her solo series is set to be an interesting exploration of what she does with all that fiery strength.
Which part of Echo’s identity is most intriguing to you — Ronin, Phoenix, or Maya herself? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!