Echo returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and she’s not done dealing out vengeance.
The show opens with Maya Lopez’s childhood and we see how she lost her mother and her leg in the same accident. Things fast-forward to Maya’s father enrolling her in self-defense classes, in which she excels. We then return to the night her father was killed by Hawkeye, then going by Ronin. Maya accepts a job from Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, and encounters a certain horned head hero. Finally, the moment Maya finds out the truth about her father the Kingpin, and shoots Kingpin in the head. It is now 5 months later and Maya has a bounty on her head for killing Kingpin. With nowhere else to turn, Maya returns to her childhood home in Oklahoma, among the Choctaw tribe. Now Maya must confront her past, reconnect with her Native American roots, and embrace her family and community. But is there another reason why Maya returned home?
Echo was first introduced in the Hawkeye series, and she made an impact. The actual comic book character was created by David Mack and Joe Quesada and appeared in the Daredevil comic back in 1999. She hasn’t been used much until recently in 2020 when she returned to the Avengers. From her first appearance, personally found her as an interesting character, but there is something about this adaptation that does bug me.
In the comics, Maya has photographic reflexes, similar to Taskmaster. Meaning, that when she sees somebody doing something, she can copy the movements to perfection. In the show, she has a completely different set of powers. It seems Maya gets a type of mystical adrenaline boost that has been passed down through generations of her bloodline. I’ve only seen the first 3 episodes and haven’t really explained it yet, but with only 2 more to go, I hope they do.
Now I don’t mind the changes in the character, as this does happen with an adaptation. But when you have Sydney Freeland, who is the show’s director and executive producer, say the character’s powers in the comic are “kind of lame”, then you shouldn’t be on the damn show. Leave and let someone who has a passion for the character take over.
Overall the show isn’t that bad. It does have the same type of grittiness and real-worldism as the Netflix Marvel shows. I truly enjoyed the more mature approach here.
Alaqua Cox reprises her role as Maya and she does an incredible job. Cox herself is deaf and throughout the show, the entire cast is using American Sign Language, which is great. Cox also is an amputee with a prosthetic leg, but this does not hinder her at all in any of the fight scenes. They are some of the best I’ve seen in a Marvel Disney Plus show since, well ever! Maya gives it as good as she takes it. Some really impressive moves. Echo is Cox’s first acting role and she’s doing great. I really hope to see her in more things.
Chaske Spencer plays Maya’s uncle Henry. His character is still connected to the Kingpin’s crime empire, so he is torn between protecting himself and protecting his family. At times, he is almost Maya’s conscience.
Cody Lightning is Maya’s well-meaning but somewhat goof-up cousin Biscuits. He wants to help Maya in any way he can. Almost wanting to be her sidekick.
The rest of the class is extremely solid. Nice and balanced, and really add depth to May’s character.
For the most part, the action is top-notch. A lot of it isn’t these quick cuts you are used to seeing in fight sequences now. Extremely well done. But there are some scenes where it looks like it was shot against a green screen. There’s this entire train escapade, but it just looks so bad that it took me out of the moment. Not a great choice and in this day and age, it could have looked better.
As a comic guy, I always sit through the credits to make sure the right writers and artists are acknowledged for the actual creation of the character. I was happy to see the Mack and Quesada got a “made by” credit. There were also special thanks to Ed Brisson, Kyle Charles, Luca Maresca, Jimmy Palmiotti, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Guillermo Sanna. The only thing that bugs me is these credits shouldn’t be all the way at the end, but be prominent in the opening credits.
Overall, I did enjoy Echo, and though it’s only 5 episodes, I really hope to see more of the character in the MCU.
Echo premiers with all episodes ready to watch on January 9th on Disney Plus and Hulu.