Echo First Reviews: Alaqua Cox Shines in 'The Best Marvel Series in Years,' Critics Say

"It's darker, broodier, and bloodier than anything Marvel Studios has released before," says Adam Barnhard from Find out what other critics are saying about Disney's first TV MA-rated Marvel series.

by | January 10, 2024 | Comments

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Marvel’s Echo follows Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) adopted daughter and ward, as she attempts to figure things out after the events that transpired in Hawkeye. This is the first street-level MCU series for the streamer, and is the first release under the “Marvel Spotlight” banner. All five episodes are currently available on Hulu and Disney+.

Appearing alongside Cox and D’Onofrio in the series are Zahn McLarnon as William Lopez, Chaske Spencer as Henry, Devery Jacobs as Bonnie, Graham Greene as Skully, Tantoo Cardinal as Chula, Cody Lightning as Biscuits, Andrew Howard as Zane, and Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock aka Daredevil.

This is Disney+’s first comic series to be rated TV MA and the return of Kingpin and Daredevil to the small screen has a lot of people talking. Does the show live up to the hype? Here’s what critics are saying about Marvel’s Echo.

How does it compare to Disney+’s other Marvel shows?

Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin in Marvel Studios' Echo

Echo is the antidote to Marvel malaise. The series brings the franchise into a new future by calling back to a brutal, neck-snapping era of TV that makes Echo feel like it’s lifted straight from the early 2000s.
Dais Johnson,

Echo stands out from the rest of the Marvel Studios TV shows on Disney+ in a variety of captivating ways.
Ethan Anderton, Slashfilm

As of right now, I feel Echo is alright, but not a show to suddenly change the recent feelings about the MCU.
Julian Lytle, Geek Girl Riot

What’s fascinating is that Echo, while slow to start, is one of the more intriguing entries in the MCU in quite some time and could represent a potential new direction for Marvel.
Chase Hutchinson, Collider

How is the cast?

Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin and Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

This show belongs to Maya Lopez and Alaqua Cox, and both of them are newfound superstars.
Adam Barnhardt,

In Echo, Alaqua Cox delivers another beautifully nuanced performance as Maya Lopez, a culturally rich, badass villain whose perceived disabilities are her superpowers.
Cassondra Feltus, Black Girl Nerds

The only good thing about Echo is Alaqua Cox. The kind of stoicism and grit that she puts on display is magnetic. Her devil-may-care attitude is evident from the mere movement of her eyebrows. Her physicality when she is being intimidated is fun to watch.
Pramit Chatterjee, Digital Mafia Talkies

But recent What If…? star Devery Jacobs is the breakout as Maya’s childhood best friend and cousin Bonnie. From the second she’s reunited with Maya, the two have undeniable chemistry, slotting back into their old dynamic even in the worst circumstances.
Dais Johnson, Inverse

What about the writing and directing?

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

It’s a story of small proportions with no connections to the larger MCU, and it’s so much better for it. The microscopic scale allows a thorough investigation of Maya Lopez’s psyche and relationships, and the character-driven story that results is one of the best things Marvel Studios has created in the past few years.
Adam Barnhardt,

It feels like a limited series with a more adult edge that just so happens to take place in the MCU, landing somewhere between what we’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios and what Netflix delivered with the likes of Daredevil or The Punisher and the rest of those shows.
Ethan Anderton, Slashfilm

Maya and Wilson Fisk’s dynamic does not have the emotional weight to center a whole rivalry around, and that’s the result of the Marvel machine’s prioritization of plot over character-driven storytelling.
Pramit Chatterjee, Digital Mafia Talkies

It’s the kind of small-scale storytelling that makes Echo so enormously affecting.
Dais Johnson, Inverse

Without character investment, Echo feels like a quick one-off without much substance to make the human aspect of the character shine.
Christie Cronan, Raising Whaisians

Does it deliver the action?

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo (2024)

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Echo is best when it’s a ground level mafia show, not a Marvel show. It’s got epic action sequences but suffers from pacing issues.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

While the show’s fighting choreography is beautiful and wince-inducing all on its own, what really makes combat scenes shine is the way Echo uses its sound design to put you into Maya’s shoes by bringing background noises all the way down, and pumping up the sound of her heartbeat.
Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

It’s darker, broodier, and bloodier than anything Marvel Studios has released before.
Adam Barnhardt,

There are still plenty of high points, including an incredible one-take action sequence that pits Maya against a bunch of henchmen before taking on none other than Daredevil (Charlie Cox), not to mention a train heist and a resourceful brawl in a roller rink.
Ethan Anderton, Slashfilm

Echo is the first MCU TV series to be rated TV-MA, and it milks every drop of blood it can from that allowance. Necks are snapped, viscera spatters, and there’s not one but two backroom surgeries in the first three episodes alone. The complicated Marvel fight choreography still carries over in the form of glossy set pieces like a train robbery, but now there’s crunchy sound design and genuinely disturbing threats to accompany them.
Dais Johnson, Inverse

How does it address Echo’s Indigenous background and disability?

Zahn McClarnon as William Lopez, Devery Jacobs as Bonnie, Graham Greene as Skully, and Tantoo Cardinal as Chula Battiest in Marvel Studios' Echo

The grounded, action-packed origin story possesses a deeply authentic quality thanks to the Indigenous creatives in front of and behind the camera, as well as their collaboration with the Choctaw Nation.
Cassondra Feltus, Black Girl Nerds

It’s the links between Maya’s evolution as a character and her Choctaw ancestors that contain the richest story elements.
Ethan Anderton, Slashfilm

While I can’t say whether Echo gets the nuances of being a butt-kicking vigilante, the effort it puts into making the character’s deafness, Indigenous heritage and prosthetic limb integral is impressive and entertaining at once.
Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

Along with fantastical reimaginings of Choctaw mythology that punctuate the series as allusions to Maya’s personal story and her Indigenous roots, characters close to Maya slip into both Plains Indian Sign Language and American Sign Language with the ease you’d expect from people who raised and grew up with a deaf woman.
Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

As a Native American critic and self-proclaimed Native Nerd, this is the show I have wanted to watch my entire life. Echo illustrates the beauty of Native collaboration and storytelling. Alaqua Cox crushes it as Marvel’s Echo.
Vincent Schilling, Native Viewpoint

Any final thoughts?

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Echo is just what the doctor ordered: a character-driven examination of the MCU’s latest star. If this show is any indication of what fans can expect from future Marvel Spotlight releases, Marvel Studios is in tip-top shape.
Adam Barnhardt,

It’s actually pretty good — and one of the stronger MCU shows overall when it comes to accomplishing what it sets out to do.
Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

It’s not only the best Marvel series in years, but the first glimmer of hope that the MCU can shift direction from what looks to be a downward spiral.
Dais Johnson, Inverse

Though inconsistently paced and lacking in character development, Echo is still an interesting look at a pretty remarkable hero, with some thrilling fights — and the more adult tone is a welcome new direction for the MCU.
Sophie Butcher, Empire Magazine

Marvel’s Echo is a gritty drama packed to the brim with an immersive story centered on Maya Lopez and her grief-stricken path toward vengeance.
Kit Stone, Hue Watched It

Disney Plus’ Echo limited miniseries feels like the studio’s first successful attempt at matching the energy that made Netflix’s Marvel shows great.
Charles Pullium-Moore, The Verge

For both Marvel and the larger television landscape around it, Echo is a blast of fresh air delivered with the force of a thousand lightning quick punches and kicks.
Andrew Parker, The Gate

Thumbnail image by Marvel Studios
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