FULL SPOILERS AHEAD
Another week means another episode of Hawkeye, the latest Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe show. Last time, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) indulged their disaster-prone tendencies while trying to get back a costume he murdered a bunch of people in (Clint) and trying to find out if your future step-dad, Jack Duquesne, is a murderer (Kate). The ended up getting captured by the Tracksuit Mafia, which is led by… well, let’s dive into who is Maya Lopez (Ms. Alaqua Cox).
“Echoes” starts by flashing back to the life of a young Maya, a deaf Native American woman whose parents can’t afford to send her to school that can better address her needs. But her dad loves her, even if he’s working with–HOLD THE FUCK UP! I RECOGNIZE THAT VOICE! VINCENT D’ONOFRIO IS ACTUALLY IN THIS?! I mean, I heard the rumors, but I thought it was just that!
Okay, small tangent. We don’t directly see D’Onofrio, instead only seeing his hand and hearing his chuckle. But guys, I have IMDB vision, and that was absolutely his voice. Why is that important? Oh, only because he was the Marvel villain Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil series! But… everything says those shows aren’t canon–they don’t really count towards the MCU, having been essentially an offshoot that the movies never acknowledged. Marvel has even started reusing actors from them in different projects–Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth in Luke Cage, Blade in the upcoming Blade, and the voice of the Prowler/Uncle Aaron in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. That one is technically its own continuity, but still. So, what is canon and not canon? Spider-Man: No Way Home sure seems to say the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies totally happened elsewhere in the multiverse, so is everything canon? It all just happened in a neighboring Earth? You can tell this is a true comic book adaptation because nerds like me can drive themselves insane trying to figure out questions like that. Seriously, if you know an insufferable comic nerd, ask them if Nextwave is canon, then sit back and laugh. They’ll know what it means.
Tangent done. The flashback ends with us finding out that Ronin–again, secretly Clint taking out his rage over his family’s death in Avengers: Endgame–killed Maya’s dad, so that’s why she is trying to hunt down the masked vigilante. In the present, Maya notices that Clint has a hearing aid, but chides him on his shitty American Sign Language skills and his reliance on the device, crushing it. But it was always his plan to get captured–the part about Kate also getting captured was a bit of a surprise–so he breaks free from his duct tape restraints, frees Kate, and we get a big action sequence that takes up most of the episode. Highlights include a Pym Tech arrow making a normal arrow huge, and the trust placed in a suction cup arrow. Back at Kate’s aunt’s place, Clint needs Kate to tell him what his youngest son is saying when he calls, sad at the thought that his dad won’t be home in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, Maya’s second in command, Kazi (Fra Fee) reminds her that she has a boss who would frown on her vendetta. HM, WONDER IF IT’S THE KINGPIN?! Back with the Hawkeyes, they decide to break into Kate’s mom’s penthouse to see if Kate can find any dirt on Jack and/or Kazi. But Clint finds out Jack’s home when the stolen Ronin sword is placed to his neck. Uh oh! Cliffhanger!
Fun episode, blah blah blah–let’s get straight to the comics. So the big character this time around was Maya Lopez. Her comic origin is fairly similar to the one in the show, with a few noteworthy differences. First appearing in Daredevil #9 (1999), Maya was a deaf Native girl whose father was killed while he was working for Kingpin. He took Maya under his tutelage and convinced her that her dad was actually killed by Daredevil. Sound familiar? After realizing Daredevil didn’t kill her dad, she became an ally to him. When Daredevil was approached by the Avengers that reformed after Wanda destroyed the team during Avengers Disassembled (an event I mentioned a lot during WandaVsion), he recommended Maya in his place. She did indeed join the team and put on the Ronin suit previously worn by Hawkeye/Clint. She got killed by Elektra (who was really a skrull shapeshifter, it’s a thing that led to Secret Invasion), she got better, and she currently… oh boy. Her current state. I’m a huge X-Men fan, so news that the Phoenix Force had returned to Earth and the Avengers were having a tournament to see who would be the host–leaving the X-Men almost entirely out of the story–didn’t thrill me. While Avengers Vs. X-Men was all about the idea that the Phoenix Force could burn out the mutant girl Hope, who was basically born for the Force, all that got thrown out the window and Echo is the current Phoenix. I’m not a fan, but I’ve heard her current limited series, Phoenix Song: Echo, is not bad.
One major difference between the comic and MCU versions of Maya is her feet, specifically her right foot. Maya on the show has a prosthetic leg, because actress Alaqua Cox has a prosthetic leg. I had half-joked while watching this episode that Disney finding a deaf Native actress to play a deaf Native woman meant there were probably only two people auditioning for this very specific role, and that’s… not entirely wrong? Don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining and I like what I’ve seen of Cox so far, so it would make sense that Marvel would tweak the character to accommodate the actress. It’s authentic and great to see an actress fit so well into a fairly niche role, especially in an age where white/abled/straight actors keep getting roles of minority characters. Still not sure Brian Tyree Henry, AKA Phastos, is actually gay like his character was, but at least Lauren Ridloff, AKA Makkari, was played by a deaf actress. Baby steps, I guess.
And as for Kazi Kazimierczak, I’ll probably cover him later. All you need to know is he’s from the comics, he has the potential to be a major threat, and I’m going get worried if he meets Grills.
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