5716 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Echo (Maya Lopez) (Marvel Comics)

Echo aka Ronin

(Maya Lopez)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Echo is a fascinating Daredevil character. She was created by David Mack and appeared in 2000. This profile focuses on the stories penned by Mack, since her handling by other writers has sometimes been less than felicitous.

Mack also did the painted, vivid art in most core Echo stories. Which you should read.

This profile has S P O I L E R S.


Background

  • Real Name: Maya Lopez
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: William “Crazy Horse” Lincoln (father, deceased), Wilson Grant Fisk (unofficial foster father) , Ms. Lopez (mother, status unrevealed)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Formerly New York City
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 125 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Echo has a “photographic reflex”. If she carefully watches somebody performing a physical task, no matter how delicate and intricate, she can reproduce the exact same moves. With enough study of somebody in various situations, she can build up a flexible répertoire of moves that make her as talented and efficient as the original.

Thus, she can learn to play the piano, dance, fight, perform acrobatics and so on like the greatest masters. But until she buys the skill using her own Hero Points , the moves are easily recognizable by anybody with a decent familiarity with the original.

For instance, she built her base martial arts knowledge after renting every kung fu flick in the nearest video store for a few weeks. Thus, martial arts movie buffs could easily recognize this Jeet Kune Do parry by Bruce Lee in Game of death, some Jackie Chan legwork and dodges from Rumble in the Bronx or signature Jet Li kicks.

Echo (Maya Lopez) painting by David Mack

Echo has picked up various moves seen on television, during performances from other artists, and so on. In DC Heroes RPG terms, this is represented by her Scholar. She thus can replicate various moves such as a million-to-one basketball killer shot, a well-known dance step, various famous choreography in jazz dancing, music videos, ice skating, etc.

Watching Echo moves while she’s duplicating someone nearby is eerie. Two people doing the exact same acrobatics, tumbles or hand-to-hand fighting in perfect synch looks like some impossible ballet.

Other abilities

She also works hard and is an extremely gifted pianist (classical and jazz) and dancer (ballet, jazz, African). Though those skills were originally copied she has now mastered them and can write her own music and choreography. She also has great potential as a storyteller and shaman, and is a highly talented boxer and kickboxer.

She is entirely deaf. However, Echo has learned to speak by mimicking every little muscle inflection in the lips and lower faces by other people. With this edge, her speech is perfectly clear and not slurred – as is often the case for deaf people who have learned to talk without being able to hear themselves.

Yet she remains handicapped. For instance she cannot understand what someone is saying (or even that they are speaking at all) without a clear look at their mouth. She is also pretty much powerless if blinded or in the dark.


History

Maya Lopez is the daughter of mob figure William “Crazy Horse” Lincoln. Lincoln was so nicknamed because he was a full-blooded American Indian, and because his sanity was tenuous and slowly unraveling. Lincoln was of no clear nation. Starting with his grandfather on the Trail of Tears, his direct ancestors always had married people from different tribes.

Ms. Lopez (who may or may not have been Native American herself) left Crazy Horse due to his growing insanity. At this point, Maya was about 4 or 5. By that time, Lincoln presumably already was a friend and criminal associate of Wilson “the Kingpin” Fisk. Their partnership had led them on a fast rise – until Crazy Horse’s growing madness forced Fisk to murder him in cold blood.

As a last request, Lincoln asked his friend Fisk to care for his daughter (then aged nine) as best as he could, and the Kingpin agreed.

Mister Fisk

Fisk was, of course, true to his word and took care of the girl – whom was though to be retarded. It was an all too common case where deafness was though to be a mental handicap, while she was actually a smart and active little girl.

When Maya was about 5 or 7, a pianist came to the school for retarded children. Maya was enthusiastic and after the small concert she rushed to the piano to replay it again, perfectly. She greatly enjoyed feeling the piano’s vibration feeding back to her as she was playing. It became quite obvious she actually was gifted.

Echo (Maya Lopez) kicks Daredevil

When the news reached Fisk, he made the necessary connections to change her education. Maya switched from an expensive school for handicapped children to an expensive schools for prodigies. She was consider by doctors who examined her as some kind of savant, able to reproduce and master extremely complex sequences of movements.

Growin’ up

During her teens, she played a lot of piano, enjoying the vibration through her fingers and whole body, breaking through her isolation. Fisk paid for a series of highly talented teachers, and Maya eagerly replicated and mastered numerous arts such as playing the violin, dancing, archery, fencing, etc.

Although she found her greatest talent in boxing, she also studied unspecified Japanese martial arts with a Japanese sensei. During this time she learned a fair bit of Japanese and a lot about the martial secrets of the islands, such as the role of the Hand. It is even possible that this man was the same man who also taught Elektra for some years, given Fisk’s connections.

Maya soon became a renowned artist and acquired financial independence. For years, Fisk was a paternal but somewhat distant guardian and occasional tutor. She trusted him completely and didn’t know anything about his actual activities. She thought that the attacks against him were slander and terrorism perpetrated, among others, by the dangerous vigilante Daredevil.

Kingpin of crime

However, Fisk was watching with interest the extensive physical and martial training Maya was putting herself through to learn new “words” in her kinetic language. He was presumably considering using her as a weapon and enforcer even back then.

Fisk eventually did use Lopez as a deadly weapon against Daredevil/Murdock. At first she simply dated Murdock at Fisk’s apparently casual suggestion. She quickly found herself very attracted to Murdock, and vice versa. That was Fisk’s primary plan – to destroy Murdock by filling the void inside men, not by taking away from him.

Murdock understood that strategy and clearly took the message to Fisk that he was to leave him and Lopez alone. Angered, the Kingpin changed his approach. He massaged the truth to convince Lopez that it was Daredevil who had murdered her father.

Echo

Feeling like she was riding a savage, unavoidable destiny, Lopez took the name Echo. She drew upon the memories of stories and traditions from her father’s people, and readied herself for the warpath. She did not manage to kill Daredevil, and during their last fights discovered he was really Murdock.

Daredevil explained to her it was obviously impossible for him to have killed Crazyhorse – he was but a schoolboy when Crazyhorse died. This made it plain that the real killer had been Fisk all along.

Echo went back to Fisk’s building. She found him wounded, with multiple gunshots in the chest and head. The Kingpin had been ambushed in an unrelated incident just hours before. Refusing to listen and trust him anymore, she shot him point blank in the head. Fisk survived even that, but his sight was destroyed.

Within hours, Maya Lopez fled the United States to avoid the attention of criminal and police forces. This made it impossible to pursue any kind of relationship was Matt Murdock. It also put her US artistic career on hold.

Always on the run

Lopez spent months in Europe, starting with France and then moving around. She visited many museums, watching art and become a talented painter herself (possibly by replicating the master’s strokes from watching the shape of the paint on the canvas).

Although painting soothed her for a time, her yearning for Matt Murdock was too great. She flew back to New York City – only to learn that he was now in a relationship with someone else.

Searching for a direction in her life, she confronted Fisk by visiting him in prison. Although Fisk admitted to playing her like a chess piece, he told her he had grown fond of her, much like a daughter. He said that he didn’t hate her for shooting him. Knowing that he was both being sincere and manipulating her, Maya left feeling even emptier and angrier than before.

Back to syncretic roots

She eventually drove to a place where her father would often take her during her childhood. She went to the Rez, a territory visited by many Native Americans wishing to retire from the world and explore their traditional ways for a time.

There she was reunited the Chief. Now an old, he had taught her Indian Sign Language and many stories when she was a child. He also had told her about her potential as a storyteller and shaman. Maya offered tobacco to the Chief so he would lead her to a vision quest.

Four days of meditation and fasting ensued, with occasional visits from animals and other portents. Echo then came face-to-face with Wolverine – or perhaps an hallucination of him. She instinctively fought him for a bit.

After they made peace, Wolverine, who played the role of the nature spirit in her quest, explained how he would come to the Rez once a year to meditate. He told her the parable of the man with two dogs fighting inside of him .

Then he explained how the original story had actually been told to the Chief by a man who had died more than 20 years ago. His words let Maya understand that the man who had told the story was her own father. Finally understanding her father’s story and the power of all stories, she knew that her path was that of the shaman.

Maya went back to being an artist, staging plays telling stories in music, dance, sign language and other media. Those proved successful on the off-Broadway scene. Matt Murdock saw several of them, and eventually they kissed goodbye.

Ronin

Daredevil would again enter Maya Lopez’s life some time later, though. The New Avengers were attempting to hunt down the escaped Silver Samurai. Since Wolverine wasn’t available, they needed Daredevil and his knowledge of the Japanese underworld.

However, Matt Murdock had been outed as Daredevil, and had 6 federal task forces attempting to prove it. Therefore, Murdock directed the New Avengers to a third person who had the necessary knowledge about Japan and the Hand, plus the same moves and techniques as he did : Echo.

Thus did Echo help the New Avengers under the costumed identity of Ronin. She successfully infiltrated Castle Yashida and brought back valuable intelligence about the plan of the Samurai and the Viper. It is likely she is still investigating the activities of the Hand and House Yashida as Ronin.


Description

As her father died, he put his bloody hand on little Maya’s face, leaving hand-shaped bloodstains. The adult Echo will often reproduce that pattern on her face through makeup when preparing to dance or fight, either in white (usually) or in red.

According to Daredevil, she smells gorgeous.


Personality

Maya Lopez is a playful, vivacious and high-spirited young woman. She obviously a successful, gifted, multi-talented artist. She has beaten a crippling handicap and was once considered mentally retarded – but now she’s a successful artist, and this gives her great joy and energy. She vibrates with genuine enthusiasm, and seems to simply go through daily life and ordinary problems like a happy kid would.

She works hard on her piano and dancing skills. To her dance is very important, and she attempts to convey deep feeling through her choreography and music. She bot seems appreciated by classical connoisseurs and by street kids, so she presumably also works in more popular forms such as hip hop.

Childhood scars

Maya’s childhood deeply shaped her. She’s still badly scarred by the loss of her father, and haunted by the mystery of his death. In some situations she feels she’s still a little girl.

In many ways her whole identity was either moulded by childhood hardships and innocence, or by her reactions against it. When her deafness comes back to cripple her despite all of her efforts, she feels extremely vulnerable, like a lost kid.

As Maya her charm is obvious, her manner full of life and spontaneity. In contrast the avenging side of Echo was made of cold rage of focused murderous fervour. It was obvious that she felt in many way like an angel of vengeance, using various symbols to claim poetic but deadly justice.

Mysteries

She draws inspiration from a jumble of Native American symbols and cultures, since her Native roots are not tied to a specific culture. Both as Echo and as Ronin, she has a tendency to put things in an oddly poetic ways – often metaphor about nature, mysteries or silence.

The name Echo comes from her deafness. She only get the echoing, vibratory feedback of sounds, not the sounds themselves. She also chose it since she feels she’s just an empty echo left by the death of her father – and that her only real, serious destiny is to put his memory to rest. Of course, it also alludes to her ability to act as an echo to the movements of others.


Quotes

“I don’t have an appointment. I’m deaf, so I didn’t call – I haven’t unlocked the secrets of the telephone.”

“I have a knack for this.”

“The silence is where you will find me.”

“My life is a foreign film with no subtitles. You are forced to learn the language.”

“Me being the owl again. Always asking what, who. Who am I, who are you.”

“I’m so sorry this happened. I would never have brought the fight to you. I thought I had lost them in the caverns of the city.”


DC Universe History

Echo echoes Daredevil’s blindness with her deafness. She was created specifically to interplay with that character. She could be re-engineered to be used instead of Terra – in that scenario she was adopted by the Terminator instead of the Kingpin, and she gains a relationship with Jericho (who is mute).

Unlike Terra, she wouldn’t have died and could come back to haunt the New Titans – or perhaps even blame Robin/Nightwing for Jericho’s death and attempt to kill him. In that scenario, she’d use the Batman’s moves against Nightwing.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Echo

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Seeking herself
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 03 Occupation: Performance artist
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 019 HP: 030

Powers:
Adaptation (Photographic reflexes): 08, Shade (sonics): 08

Skills:
Acrobatics (Gymnastics)*: 05, Artist (dancer, musician, choreographer, composer): 08, Artist (artist, painter): 05, Artist (storyteller)*: 06, Martial artist*: 05, Weaponry (firearms, missile)*: 05

Advantages:
Expertise (lip-reading), Familiarity (Native American cultures, Japanese martial arts lore), Language (Indian Sign Language, AMESLAN, Japanese), Popularity, Scholar (a repertory of moves seen on television), Schtick (paired nunchaku)

Connections:
Kingpin (Low), The Chief (Low), Daredevil (Low), New Avengers (Low)

Drawbacks:
SPR (deaf), Public ID (as Maya/Echo), Secret ID (as Ronin), Attack Vulnerability : Darkness and Flash attacks (-1CS RV) as well as natural darkness (normal penalties worsened by one CS)

Equipment:

  • When attempting to kill Daredevil, Echo has specifically mimicked the skills of Daredevil and Bullseye, and used similar equipment. She carried :
    • A pair of Nightsticks [BODY 09, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 06 or more with Martial arts), Note: can be thrown] in imitation of Daredevil
    • A lot of Shuriken [BODY 03, EV 02, Dart bonus] and others light, pointy things in imitation of Bullseye
    • She was also using the gun that had killed her father [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo 07, R#03]
  • As Ronin, Maya uses a specific set of gear:
    • COSTUME [/BODY/ 05, Misc.: The costume is designed and padded in such a way than almost all observers will assume that Ronin is a male]
    • Nunchaku (x2) [BODY 05, /STR/ 04, EV 04, Lightning Reflexes, Limitation : /STR/ only in Grappling combat]

Kinetic echo

Echo generally has the following replicated – DEX 08, Acrobatics: 08, Martial artist: 08, Thief (stealth): 08, Weaponry: 08. She also has duplicated the fighting styles of Daredevil, Bullseye, Wolverine – and possibly has duplicated the styles of Elektra, and the Punisher as well as Captain America, Cage and other New Avengers.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Daredevil vol. 2 (Marvel universe)

Helper(s): Peter Piispanen, Jackson (Taskmaster writeup), John Colagioia, Gareth Lewis

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