July 16, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #309: Echo

Daredevil, a blind superhero, once met his match with Echo, a deaf assassin.

If there’s an old trope in fiction that may or may not be true, it’s that people missing one of the standard five senses somehow manage to compensate by developing the other four to a higher degree.  That’s basically the concept behind Marvel’s Daredevil, a blind vigilante who has his other four senses plus an extra “radar sense” enhanced well beyond peak human levels.

I do have to wonder why it took Marvel as long as it did before someone thought it would be interesting to see how Matt handled a deaf opponent with similar enhancement to the other senses, and that’s what happened when writer David Mack introduced the world to Echo in 1999.

Echo was the product of the Marvel Knights imprint/revival that had Daredevil as its figurehead.  The first arc, with artwork by eventual editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and a story by Kevin Smith, launched the rebooted series and the Marvel Knights line, but while Quesada stuck around, Smith departed, paving the way for a new storyline from the aforementioned Mack.

Mack’s innovation was to bring in one Maya Lopez.  Maya’s father was a Native American named Willie Lincoln.  He died at the hands of Wilson Fisk, leaving a bloody handprint on his young daughter’s face and promise from Fisk to raise her right.  Maya was deaf, but her education at expensive boarding schools proved fruitful when she replicated a song on a piano after watching someone else play it.  True, she couldn’t hear, but she could copy anything anyone else did by simply watching them do it.

Naturally, Fisk decided to set her up with some martial arts instruction, eventually to send her out to take down the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

The training was in all kinds of things.

So, as Echo, Lopez painted her father’s handprint onto her face and went off to kill Daredevil under the assumption that Fisk was her beloved second father and his enemies must be bad people.

Oh, she was also dating Matt Murdock on the side, neither realizing right away who the other also was.  And, of course, when Echo realized the truth, well, things went badly for Fisk.  Maya left the country for a while, did some spiritual journey type stuff, and eventually returned to find Matt had moved on.

However, writer Brian Michael Bendis must have liked her because she was one of the line-up for his New Avengers run.  Granted, no one knew it at the time because she was the first of many characters to wear the mask of Ronin.  That was actually an interesting fake-out because it was meant to look like Matt Murdock was Ronin, but then it turned out to be Echo instead.

Pictured: not Matt Murdock.

From there, she started a relationship with eventual second Ronin Clint Barton, hung around during the Secret Invasion, and then mostly just came and went as she saw fit.  I got the impression Bendis liked the character, but also that she didn’t seem to hang around for long periods of time.  Granted, one of those disappearances seem to be due to dying, but she got better.

Why bring up Echo at all?  Well, recently there were some casting announcements for Disney+’s Hawkeye series to be played by actress Alaqua Cox, and I’ve had lesser inspirations than that to write one of these.