Echo Review: Marvel Show Ups Its Game, But Is It Enough?

With Echo, Marvel is setting off a new spin-off universe where the stories will take place regardless of the current timeline in the MCU. Echo led by Alaqua Cox plays Maya Lopez is the first of Marvel Spotlight. The show, like the spin-off of Marvel, promises to be a more intimate story away from the otherworldly impacts of the MCU. Maya’s story is personal and darker than usual for the current MCU, but it’s still beginning in the studio getting back to the core of its original stories from the 2010s.

The show focuses on Maya’s story which is very much about her home and her community, as much as it is about Kingpin’s revenge. The show takes its sweet time in setting up the story after the end of Hawkeye. The makers give enough time for the audience to come to terms with where the story is taking place and who it is about. Maya Lopez is the daughter of the leader of Tracksuit Mafia in New York, who deals with KingPin. However, after the Blip when Hawkeye turns into Ronin a mercenary, he kills the tracksuit mafia and its leader, which is witnessed by Maya herself.

She grows up working with Kingpin for years and is often treated by him as his adoptive daughter. One of her main reasons for working with Kingpin is to exact revenge for her father’s death and Ronin, her father’s murderer. She finally finds him in the show Hawkeye. While tracking him down, she finds out her father was killed on the order of Kingpin. At the end of the show, she kills Kingpin. Leaving that chapter behind the show Echo explores her turning back to her roots, but her past doesn’t leave her alone.

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Instead of through the audience right into Maya’s story of becoming Echo, the show does give an insight into her life before moving to New York and later joining the Mafia. The show is an ode to the Native American Choctaw community. The show beautifully imbues the fictional and real elements of Native American history with each episode driving the story forward. The music complements the direction and cinematography in most of the episodes. However, the link between the history and current events doesn’t develop enough mystery to drive the audience’s interest.

What mostly keeps you hooked is Alaqua Cox’s performance as Maya Lopez. She already impressed many in Hawkeye but continues to do so with Echo as her character takes center stage. Instead of turning to grief and helplessness, Maya takes things into control and begins to push back on her enemies without missing a beat.

Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio has returned as Kingpin for the third time. He was seen in Daredevil Netflix show, followed up by Hawkeye. In Echo he is expected to show a different side to his character, but early on he shows a deadly side to Wilson Fisk, more so as he realizes Maya turned her back on him. On the other hand, Chaske Spencer, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal and more are a pleasant surprise in the show. Every supporting character has much to offer, and if the show proceeds further there is much hope for all of them.

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Overall, Echo is a fun watch but knowing it takes place outside the MCU timeline, it does not add much to the big picture. The makers are expected to add a lot more drama to keep the audience hooked for the long run.

Cover artwork by Patrick Gawande/Mashable India

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