Alaqua Cox portrays Maya Lopez, the super fighter ‘Echo’ in the latest Disney+ series, and it's a huge deal for so many reasons.
First of all from the #NativeNerd standpoint and as an actual critical review, the series started out with a bit of a dull thud. I wasn’t really that invested in Kate Bishop as the new stand-in possibility for Hawkeye/Clint Barton, and I didn’t really care all that much about the family Christmas dynamic.
But I played along, knowing Echo was coming. But then, in the best way possible, things got exciting, Hawkeye was becoming a pretty cool character in his own right of existence.
You see, I have always liked Hawkeye, also known as Clint Barton played by Jeremy Renner, but never really as a solo act. He has always been a bit of a low-key player, and I felt that Marvel continuously felt bad for his under-coverage in the films and kept throwing him a few threadbare storylines in the Avengers movies.
But he pulled off a few early epic moves in the “Hawkeye” series that I have sincerely appreciated. Tell me if you don’t agree that the moment he shoots the arm-binding tape with an arrow as he is sideways jumping — was a sincerely redeeming and epic Marvel moment.
And though “Hawkeye” is a bit of the introductory “Kate Bishop show,” I am most excited with the newest inductee into the Marvel cinematic universe.
Drum roll please: Introducing Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, or ‘Echo.’
Why Alaqua Cox as ‘Echo’’ is such a huge deal
Ok, admittedly the difference between the Marvel cinematic universe and the comic world of Marvel and Echo is a little inconsistent. But this is a commonality in the Marvel world that I have grown to recognize as truth: “The comics are going to be a little bit different than the movies.”
But this said, there are also a lot of histories in the comics that genuinely guide the Marvel cinematic universe. Here are a few facts about Echo that are going to have a huge impact on the upcoming Disney+ series as well as the movies in the future. I gleefully shudder at all of the upcoming possibilities.
Maya Lopez/Echo is the adopted daughter of the Kingpin, which demonstrates a connection to Daredevil
Whoa! What? Yes, this is a huge deal that Echo is appearing in Hawkeye because the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) the huge figurehead of the Mafia world comes from the Daredevil series. This is the first indication that Matthew Murdock — the blind attorney whose alter heroic ego is Daredevil is connected to this story.
Also worth noting, Maya Lopez is deaf, while Matt Murdock is blind. Also, did I tell you that they were a couple in the past? What is going to happen? (Insert a #NativeNerd scream here.)
And also worth mentioning — she was a close personal friend of Wolverine.
Lopez’s presence shows a potential combining of narratives that embraces all of the Marvel universes to include Daredevil, the mutant race and the Avengers. This is something every Marvel movie nerd has been waiting for since “Iron Man.”
Maya Lopez/Echo was once unmasked as ‘Ronin’
“But wait Native Nerd Vincent Schilling,” you might be asking, “How could this be? I thought Clint Barton/Hawkeye was Ronin after the Thanos finger-snap?”
Yes, dear readers, all true. So what is going to happen? How is this storyline going to move forward? In a minor spoiler here if you haven’t yet watched “Hawkeye,” Kate Bishop gets ahold of the Ronin superhero costume and runs from the tracksuit mafia.
So what is happening? I don’t know.
Echo has done a lot of stuff with other Marvel heroes
Echo has helped the Avengers and Captain America in searching for the Silver Samurai, a mutant seen in the “Wolverine” movie.
She has worked with Clint Barton and Iron Fist in a scuffle with the Hulk and Doctor Strange. She collaborated with Captain Marvel, Moon Knight, Jean Grey/Phoenix of the X-Men and much much more. She has even had a cameo in “Ultimate Spider-Man #122.” She also once appeared in a Marvel novel “Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover” which was a sort of pre-story to the eventual “Spider-Man” video game.
There is also history where Maya Lopez claims the new identity of Thunderbird, the Native American mutant that first appeared in “Giant X-Men #1.”
Now admittedly this mostly takes place in the Marvel comics universe, so there is no telling how this will all play out in the Marvel cinematic universe.
A meaningful handprint and the upcoming “Echo” series
In the Daredevil comics, the Kingpin kills Maya’s father, as he dies, he touches her face, leaving behind a bloody handprint. Echo continues to wear a handprint on her face as she continues her portrayal in life as a superperson.
Due to her choices and associations in the Marvel universe, I can’t really call her a defined superhero nor a defined supervillain — I love this fact and again wonder where things will go.
At this point in the series, I don’t know if any of this will necessarily make its way into the actual Hawkeye storyline or … the Echo series!
Yes, there is an “Echo” series coming to Disney+ — and they are being tight-lipped as they usually are. Will she be wearing the painted handprint on her face in the future? My guess is a definitive yes.
My #NativeNerd review
Episode 1 and 2
“Hawkeye” aspect - 8.5
“Echo” aspect - 10.0
“Hawkeye” is a great series that thus far might be fortunate for Clint Barton in the discarding of his sideline status. But Echo is my favorite part of the show.
Kate Bishop at first wasn’t exciting me, but the banter between her and Clint Barton is a ton of fun. Everything, and yes, you can call me nitpicky, but everything was redeemed when Clint made that cool arrow hand tape shot in the middle of the air.
But my jaw dropped when Echo/Maya Lopez came into the mix. It was blessed controlled chaos and I am extremely happy about it.
Alaqua Cox is a natural. Her efforts are seemingly without effort and her emergence into the Marvel universe is so well structured and warranted I am a sincerely excited NativeNerd journalist here watching something I never could have conceived of as a 12-year-old Native kid.
I am excited to see where things progress.
You go Alaqua, Indian Country is rooting for you … I know I certainly am.
One last note - there is a possibility Sydney Freeland will be directing all or some of the "Echo" series. Stay tuned