Hawkeye: The Comic Book Story of Echo, the Original Ronin
Disney Plus’ upcoming Hawkeye streaming show brings the mysterious hero Echo into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Alaqua Cox. And while many viewers aren’t necessarily familiar with Echo yet, his comic book history has already played a role in the MCU thanks to the inclusion of the Ronin identity in Avengers: Endgame.
Echo created the Ronin identity in the comics before passing it on to Clint Barton. But she’s more than the original secret identity of the widely traveled ninja appearance.
As a longtime Avenger with ties to Wolverine, Daredevil, the Hand, and of course the Phoenix’s cosmic life, death, and rebirth being, Echo has his own Marvel Comics legacy, which is , in many ways, just getting started.
With Echo arriving in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and news that she will have her own post-Hawkeye spin-off, we’re going to break down everything you need to know right now.
Who is Echo?
Echo didn’t start out as a hero per se, but as an antagonist of Daredevil. After her father (an executor of the Kingpin) was murdered by his own boss, Maya Lopez (the future Echo) was taken in by Kingpin himself, who promises to raise her as his own child. Although initially believed to have a learning disability, Maya attends a special school where she learns that not only is she deaf, but that she is in fact a prodigy both in the creative arts – and in martial arts.
Under Kingpin’s manipulation, Maya grows up blaming Daredevil for her father’s death, ultimately swearing revenge on the vigilante. Taking the name “Echo” thanks to her natural talent for mimicking the movements of others (similar to another new MCU character Taskmaster), Maya adorns her face with a handprint that resembles the bloody handprint left on her. face by his dying father, and sets to kill Daredevil.
First meeting Matt Murdock (through the machinations of the Kingpin), Echo begins a relationship with Matt while hunting Daredevil. But when she discovers Daredevil’s secret – his blindness – she sets a trap designed to take away the advantage of his radar sense and fight him almost to the death.
Echo stops before killing Daredevil when she realizes that he and Matt Murdock are one, instead of turning on Kingpin and shooting him, leaving him for dead.
Fleeing the country, Maya eventually returns to find that Matt Murdock has moved on with his life and is with another woman, while Kingpin, who survived his injuries, is incarcerated.
Kingpin forgives Maya for trying to kill him, and she sets out on another journey of soul-searching, eventually meeting Wolverine and learning about the evil ninjas the Hand.
Maya finds a new purpose in her life by fighting the Hand, assuming the identity of Ronin, and eventually joining the Avengers – a team she still associates with.
Echo in the Marvel Universe
As we said, Maya Lopez was the original secret identity of the character of Ronin, a masked ninja who debuted as a mystery member of the New Avengers, with readers knowing that a recognizable character was in the costume, but not who.
Although the plans originally called for Daredevil to be revealed as the secret hero operating as Ronin, the plot was reversed and Echo was cast in the role (although, in another bizarre controversy, the secret was accidentally spoiled before the story was released).
Maya, as Ronin, first came into contact with the Avengers while she was fighting the Hand in Japan. After assuming leadership of the Main, including Silver Samurai and Viper, alongside the Avengers, Echo remains in Japan as Ronin to oversee the activities of the Main.
But she was captured, which led to the Avengers attempting to save Echo from the hand before she could be hijacked to become one of their brainwashed assassins.
Upon meeting Elektra, herself a brainwashed hand-murderer herself, things take a dark turn when Echo actually stabs her – and reveals that the Elektra in question was not the real Elektra Natchios. , but a Skrull masquerading as her.
This discovery kicks off the story of Secret Invasion (itself soon to be adapted as a Disney Plus MCU show) in which the Skrulls are revealed to have infiltrated earthly society in the guise of known heroes and other people in the Marvel Universe, which in turn leads to the ‘Dark Reign’ era that put Norman Osborn as the head of a new SHIELD-like group called HAMMER.
During the “Dark Reign” era, Echo passed the Ronin mantle down to Clint Barton. From there, Echo continued his model of infiltrating undercover criminal groups, teaming up with Moon Knight to take on the evil Count Nefaria, before returning to New York and teaming up with Daredevil again.
Most recently, Echo was once again a member of the Avengers, a membership that brought her to a whole new role in the Marvel Universe as the current host of the Cosmic Force Phoenix, after winning favor with the Phoenix in the tournament shown in the story “Avengers: Enter the Phoenix”.
She has her own limited series starring, Phoenix Song: Echo, which premieres October 20, which will explore how Echo uses her newfound Phoenix Force powers.
Echo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Echo will make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut on Disney Plus’s upcoming Hawkeye streaming show, played by Native American actor Alaqua Cox, of the Menominee and Mohican Nations, making her the first Native American hero in the MCU. Echo will also be the MCU’s second deaf hero, following actress Lauren Ridloff’s debut as Makkari in Eternals. Cox and Ridloff are themselves deaf.
As we said earlier, while Echo is not yet in the MCU, aspects of his comic book history are already present – and appear to play a key role in Hawkeye.
Namely, it’s Echo’s legacy as Ronin that most directly connects her to Hawkeye, at least in comic book terms. In the MCU, Ronin is the identity Clint Barton assumed during the five-year gap between when Thanos took out half of all life in the universe with “the Snap” and when the Avengers built. their own Infinity Gauntlet to undo The Decimation of Thanos.
On the Hawkeye show, it looks like Clint’s past as Ronin will come after him, leading him to cross paths with his comic book protégé Kate Bishop, who will follow in his comedic footsteps and become Clint’s student. in the series. It’s also likely the connection that will bring Echo into the story – although Marvel Studios has yet to reveal how it will connect to the story.
It’s hardly shocking that the mysteries surrounding Echo’s inclusion in Hawkeye, and the potential stories that could be adapted for his own spinoff show that might follow, have led to rampant speculation from fans – especially about the links between the Echo and Daredevil comics.
Thanks to Echo’s comic book history as an enemy and lover of Daredevil, and a single performer for the Kingpin, rumors have mostly circulated since Echo’s inclusion in Hawkeye was announced that the series could also feature Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk themselves – possibly even played by Netflix Daredevil actors Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio, respectively.
At this point, however, everything remains strictly in the realm of rumor, hearsay, and perhaps wishful thinking – though nothing is impossible. And with Echo’s recent connection to the Phoenix Force, which has traditionally been associated with the X-Men (another Marvel Comics property that will soon enter the MCU), Echo could become an unlikely hub to bridge the gap between the Avengers characters and several existing Marvel franchises.
Echo began as an executor for Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, one of the best villains Daredevil ever (OK, THE best).