The Complete Marvel Comics History of Echo, a.k.a. Maya Lopez

Echo is the latest character from Marvel Comics to make the jump to a live-action series on Disney+. Her fighting prowess makes her one of Marvel’s fiercest “street-level” superheroes, joining the likes of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and more. Today, Maya Lopez is an important force for representation within Marvel Comics, as she is a Deaf woman of Cheyenne Native American descent. Within this realm, Echo is one of a handful of Native American characters who aren’t mutants or members of the X-Men. While Echo isn’t one of the most storied characters in Marvel Comics, she has experienced immense growth since 1999. Without much further ado, let’s take a look back at the complete Marvel Comics history of Echo and her role in the MCU.

marvel comics cover art of daredevil #10 with maya lopez
Joe Quesada/David Mack/Jimmy Palmiotti

The Marvel Comics Origin Story of Echo

Echo was created by writer/artist David Mack and Joe Quesada, and first appeared in Daredevil #9 (1998). She was introduced as the daughter of Kingpin’s (Wilson Fisk) right hand man, Willie “Crazy Horse” Lincoln. Crazy Horse was murdered when Maya was a young girl. Kingpin raised her to believe that Daredevil killed her father in cold blood. Thus, when Maya came of age, this deception sent her on a mission to kill Daredevil. However, like so many other powerful women in Daredevil’s life, the two fell in love. After a brutal fight, Daredevil informed Echo that he couldn’t have possibly killed her father, because he was only a child when it happened. In turn, Echo realized that her father’s murderer was actually Kingpin, setting her on a path of vengeance and redemption. 

Echo’s Comic Ties to the Avengers, Moon Knight, and the Phoenix Force  

Echo has deep ties to Daredevil and the Avengers, particularly in stories written by Brian Michael Bendis. After her first bout with Daredevil in Daredevil #9-15 (1998), Echo went on to join the Avengers. She was featured in The New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu, where she was sent to Japan to infiltrate the criminal underworld. On this mission, she used the alias “Ronin.” In a shocking twist of events, she was killed and then resurrected by a Skrull posing as Elektra, who was the head of the ninja organization, The Hand, at the time. 

marvel comics panel of echo fighting daredevil
Joe Quesada/David Mack/Jimmy Palmiotti

Echo’s adventures as an Avenger continued in Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s Moon Knight series. Moon Knight accidentally interrupted her undercover mission at a strip club, where she was investigating the villain, Snapdragon. The two quickly formed an alliance that then blossomed into a brief romantic relationship. Echo’s untimely murder cut this budding romance short and sent Moon Knight into a rage. Thankfully, Echo later resurfaced in Charles Soule’s run on Daredevil, where she returned in the Daredevil Annual #1 (2016). 

The next era in Echo’s publication history is her most decisive yet. During Jason Aaron and Javier Garrón’s run on Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their enemies battled it out to decide who the next host of the Phoenix Force would be. Despite seemingly falling out in the beginning of the tournament, Echo emerged victorious as the Phoenix Force host in Avengers #44 (2018). 

image of echo with the phoenix force
Jason Aaron/Javier Garrón

Her new abilities as the Phoenix fed directly into her next story, a miniseries called Phoenix Song: Echo by Rebecca Roanhorse and Luca Maresca. In this miniseries, a villain known as the Adversary hunted Echo for her Phoenix powers. The Adversary sought to take Echo’s Phoenix abilities by destroying her ancestral line, prompting Maya to team up with other Native heroes such as River and the mutant Forge to travel back in time to save her ancestors. As of now, Echo no longer is the host to the Phoenix Force. The conclusion of Jason Aaron’s run on Avengers ended with her giving up her Phoenix powers. 

Echo’s Powers and Abilities in the Comics, Explained

Echo has photographic reflexes, meaning that she has the ability to mimic any type of movement after observing it. When she was first hunting down Daredevil, she watched footage of the villain Bullseye in order to learn his fighting techniques. She is also an accomplished concert pianist and ballet dancer, precisely because of this ability. In addition, she is also Deaf. Her skill at reading movements allows her to lipread and verbally communicate with an uncanny sense of accuracy. 

As the Phoenix, Echo was the host of one of the most powerful entities within Marvel Comics: the Phoenix Force. The Phoenix Force is a primordial being that draws its power from the life force of future generations in the universe. It also allows its host to transcend time and space in the universe. This played a direct role in the events of the Phoenix Song: Echo miniseries. With the conclusion of Jason Aaron’s run on Avengers, Echo is no longer the host of the Phoenix Force. 

Echo Moves to Live-Action and Joins the MCU

Echo's Maya Lopez holding a gun in the trailer
Marvel Studios

Echo’s first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in the Disney+ show, Hawkeye. Played by actress Alaqua Cox, this version of Echo boasts the same powerful fighting abilities as her comic book counterpart. She also has a limb difference, with a prosthetic leg. 

There are some parallels between the MCU version of Echo, and her comic book counterpart. Instead of believing that Daredevil killed her father, the MCU’s Echo believes that Ronin (Hawkeye’s alias) killed him. This is a callback to her brief time as Ronin in The New Avengers. In addition, she has a similar backstory as the former ward of Wilson Fisk. At the end of Hawkeye, Echo shot Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) point blank in the head. It is similar to how she shoots him at the end of her first Daredevil arc. 

Echo’s new miniseries will explore the heroine’s journey back to her hometown in Oklahoma. The plot summary for the series states that she will also reconnect with her Native American heritage there. This is perhaps pointing at a story within a similar vein as Phoenix Song: Echo

We cannot wait to see what happens when Echo hits Disney+ on January 9, 2024.

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