Echo: Who is the Deaf Defender? – Movie Rewind Backstory

Hear No Evil

Echo:My name is Maya Lopez. I’m not sure if I’m still that person. The newspapers called me Echo. That’s what I feel like. An echo. This is my story.”

Daredevil Vol. 2 #51

A hero surveys a gang operation from a skylight. She sees the leader shouting at his minions while others unload machine guns. She throws a device to the ground that emits a piercing sound. The crooks grab their ears as she leaps down and knocks out several guards in seconds.

The gang leader sees that the hero isn’t affected by the noise and realizes that she can’t hear. He shuts off the lights and draws a knife. He creeps up and scores a cut on her arm. The hero’s face contorts in rage as flames engulf her. A fireball appears in her hand. She aims at the leader, but stops herself from shooting at the last second. Echo punches out the leader and flees into the night.

Echo is obscure, but she has a bright future ahead of her. This deaf assassin turned hero will be a major character in Disney’s Hawkeye before getting spun-off into her own show. She also made our list of the Top 5 Superheroes With Disabilities. So who is she? How did she get her powers? What is her connection to The Kingpin? Let’s find out.

Resound: Echo’s Backstory

Echo:When I’m finished, the people are clapping. Of course, I don’t hear this. I just see all the hands hitting each other. I feel the echo, the vibration on my body, like war drums. I realize this play was just practice. Tomorrow I will again wrap myself in the echoes of the past.”

Daredevil Vol. 2 #10

Echo debuted in Daredevil #9 in 1999. She was created by David Mack and Joe Quesada.

Maya Lopez was the daughter of Kingpin’s enforcer Crazy Horse. Kingpin murdered him for failing an assignment, but granted Crazy Horse’s dying wish that he raise Maya. He thought Maya was developmentally disabled until she perfectly recreated a piano performance from sight alone. He realized that Maya was born deaf and sent her to a school for prodigies.

Kingpin fast-tracked a career in show business for Maya, who became renowned as a ballerina and a pianist. She was also trained as an assassin called Echo and used her performances to get close to her targets. After several assassinations, she was given a new task by her adoptive father: kill Daredevil.

Echo stalked Daredevil while preparing for their fight and, ironically, fell in love with his alter ego, Matt Murdock. She nearly killed Daredevil before he lured her into a dark building where she couldn’t sense him. He revealed his secret identity and that the Kingpin was evil. Echo blinded the Kingpin and left New York to figure out who she was.

Reverberate: Echo’s History

Echo: First, I will bury the worst parts of my memory, the dead parts of my heart, in the hole. Then I will cover it up and plant something inside it. Something that will grow. But I’m not sure if the dead parts will stay buried. I’m done with them. But I don’t think they are done with me.

Daredevil Vol. 2 #51

Echo wandered the world before returning to her ancestral Cheyenne home. The tribe’s leader sent her on a vision quest, which led her to Wolverine. He helped Echo cope with her murderous past by teaching her disciplines he had learned in Japan. Echo decided to become a hero and adopted the name Ronin (a Japanese term for a wandering samurai without a master).

Ronin aided The Avengers in several battles against The Hand, earning their trust and team membership. Hand assassins killed Ronin, resurrected her, and attempted to turn her to their side. Fortunately, Echo was saved by The Avengers and Hawkeye, who had taken up the Ronin identity while she was dead.

Echo mostly disappeared from the public eye. She occasionally returned for crossovers and event comics. She recently participated in a tournament to become the new host of The Phoenix Force. Echo defeated all comers to earn that power, but chose to honor her Indigenous ancestry by claiming the codename Thunderbird.

Resonate: Echo’s Powers and Personality

Echo:A great bird of fire that brings the summer, that protects us from the things that would feed on us in the darkness and the sea. In the long, cold winter. Today, for better or worse, I have become that spirit of change. My name is Maya Lopez, and I am an echo of all fire and life that has come before me. I am The Thunderbird of old and tomorrow. I am The Phoenix.

Avengers: Enter The Phoenix

Echo has photographic reflexes that allow her to copy any ability she sees, similar to the villain Taskmaster. She used these abilities to become a world class fighter, assassin, dancer, and pianist. She has copied techniques from some of Marvel’s best fighters, including Daredevil, Bullseye, and Captain America.

Echo often has difficulties with her hearing impairment while acting as a hero. She is unable to hear shouted warnings, cannot read lips through helmets or thick masks, and is at a major disadvantage if lured into a dark room. Echo has learned several tricks to mitigate these challenges.

The Phoenix Force makes Echo much stronger. She can fly, summon “cosmic fire”, and has resurrective immortality. The catch is that these new abilities are governed by The Phoenix Force itself, causing Echo to care more about propagating life and destroying threats to living beings. It also makes Echo lose control of her emotions and morality, making her a danger to those she’s trying to help.

Echo is a serious person who gives very flowery speeches. She often acts like a ditzy socialite to hide her more natural ex-assassin personality. She paints a white handprint on her face when acting as a hero to honor Crazy Horse, who left a bloody handprint on her face when he was dying.

The Actors Who Play Echo

Alaqua Cox – Hawkeye

Didya Get All That?

An deaf assassin turned godlike hero.

Image: Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. (c) Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

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