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Echo–Maya Lopez is Back

Guest reviewer:   Lora Chilton, author of 1666 : A Novel

The character of Maya Lopez was introduced in the Marvel television series, Hawkeye (2021). Now she is  back in the spin-off series, Echo. Played by the captivating Alaqua Cox, Maya tells her story in a series of flashbacks involving  her childhood and trauma. Maya, of course, has the superpowers of a Marvel hero,  but this time, passed down through her matrilineal Choctaw heritage from Chafa, a Choctaw leader.  Focusing on the Choctaw nation,  Echo is a Marvel series with a  fresh and highly original cultural perspective.  Maya is  deaf and an amputee, but, in spite of  these disabilities,  she discovers her supernatural athletic skill and ability to heal, traits that come from her female ancestors.

When her mother is killed in a mysterious automobile crash, resulting  in Maya’s partial leg amputation, her father takes her from the sheltered life she has known in Oklahoma to the unfamiliar streets of New York City.  After her father dies, Maya desires to understand and avenge  his death. The early scenes with Alaqua Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio foreshadow the confusion Maya feels about D’Onofrio’s role as her protector,  even as she suspects he may have been involved in her father’s murder.

Populated with an all-star cast, Echo is electric in gripping scenes with Maya’s grandmother (Tattoo Cardinal of “Killers of the Flower Moon”

) and her grandfather (Graham Green). Chaske Spencer (from the Twilight series) and Vincent D’Onofrio, in his recurring role as Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin,  add stellar performances  to the series. 

Maya eventually returns to Oklahoma and her Choctaw roots to understand her past and move forward. For example, the  red-headed pileated woodpecker is believed to be a lucky charm, whose presence can help find hidden treasures and assist with friendships. When a very young Maya accidentally injures one of the woodpeckers, she takes it to her mother who heals the bird and explains its significance.

There is trauma from the deaths of Maya’s parents, heartbreak when she leaves her grandmother to move to New York as well as  the conflicting presence of Fisk in Maya’s life. Right actions for the future are the best apologies for the past and there are plenty of unanswered questions.  Let’s hope for  another season!  

Availability: Disney+ and Hulu

Note 1: There are humorous subtle references to past movies such as naming the pet dog “Billy Jack”, the 1973 movie starring Tom Laughlin, one of the first movies to feature the racism experienced by Native Americans, in this case the Navajo.

Note 2: Lora Chilton is the author of 1666: A Novel, a historical novel, to be released April 2, 2024.   1666: A Novel explores the untold story of the survival of the Patawomeck, as experienced through the lives of two women who survive the 1666 massacre.

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