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Echo Rises: Marvel’s Latest Series Infuses Superhero Action with Indigenous Spirit

It only took around 30 movies and 500 years of extreme subjection by the white man, but Marvel is finally paying tribute to Indigenous peoples! Aho!

Earlier this month, Disney released the new streaming mini-series Echo.

Based on the Marvel comic book by David Mack and Joe Quesada, and a spin off the long-running Daredevil series proper, the new series chronicles the journey of Maya Lopez, a deaf Indigenous woman with the preternatural ability to mimic people’s fighting moves.

With her ability to mimic movements, the series explores her journey, highlighting themes of identity, resilience, and empowerment as she confronts her past and defines her place in the Marvel Universe.

The lead in Echo is Maya Lopez.

Previously confronting both Daredevil and Hawkeye in past adventures, Echo's most fearsome adversary is also her former role model, the Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk.

In the mini-series, we find Maya (hearing-impaired actress Alaqua Cox) dealing with her blood-soaked past with Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), presumably left for dead.

She leaves New York City and heads for Indian County—namely the fictional Tamaha, Oklahoma, on Choctaw tribal land. She comes to town wanting to take down Fisk’s enterprises but, instead, the kill-shot Maya gave him only left him comatose.

Waking up, he tries to come down to small Oklahoma town for a reunion, one she is more than ready for.

While many people would think Maya’s superpower is her mimicry of certain fighting styles, it turns out that she is part of a powerful force—an Indigenous force—that through her godlike ancestors makes her nigh-invulnerable.

With as much guff as I give to the latest Marvel productions, I feel like they are doing something vibrant and fresh with this new ear of Indigenous storytelling, with both this and last season’s What If episode starring Reservation Dogs’ Devery Jacobs, who also appears in Echo.

Cox is great as Maya, with a seething intensity and a “fuck-up-shit” mentality she truly plays to the max. Conversely, D'Onofrio wantonly inhabits the Kingpin with full force.

Other fine actors swimming in the Res Dogs waters like the aforementioned Jacobs, Zahn McClarnon, and Graham Greene, to name a few, bring new diversity for the Marvel Universe.

Even better, one of the co-writers on the series is the celebrated local filmmaker Steven Paul Judd, as well as local singer and songwriter Samatha Crain, who contributed a few songs for the soundtrack.

But, sadly, most of this series was filmed in Georgia, with stock shots of Oklahoma landmarks and, especially, at the Choctaw—Hey, that's my tribe!—tribal powwow keeps it very Oklahoman.

(But, true to form, it’s a ferocious Stitt-slam with the original Oklahoma’s “Native America” art on the welcome sign that takes all the frybread and then some. Imagine that!)

Echo is a great return-to-form for the merry Marvel machine, with, hopefully, more of the Indigenous characters that have been so robbed from us. What about a mini-series of Judd’s recent comic-book take on the mythos of American Eagle? Please?


 Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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