Here’s my top 3 reasons I fking love ECHO!

Marvel’s ECHO brings together many pieces of a puzzle, blending together the pop-culture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Indigenous culture and representation of the Choctaw Nation and Native American community.
For myself as an Indiginerd, I found it difficult to agree on how I should start this cycle of thinking, as all my passion and ideas tend to mix and step into focus at the same time, so let’s try to break this down for you (and me).

***If you have not watched Marvel’s ECHO in its entirety, stop reading this and go watch it now, not only is it good, but this article may contain some spoilers***

So, here are my top 3 reasons why I f#*king love ECHO and why you should too!

1. Storytelling
ECHO has a perfect mix of the Choctaw Nation creation stories, the dominance of the Matriarch lineage together with the world building of the Marvel Cinematic Universe creates a narrative which holds similarities with that of Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Shang-Chi and Black Panther. That is, a perspective of the MCU which is steep in a diverse history, rooted in representation and grounded in culture.
And to be brutally honest, it is a welcomed narrative given so many Marvel fans are going through ‘Marvel exhaustion’ and ‘superhero fatigue’, ECHO offers an anti-hero perspective, the struggles of personal values and the shift which we all must go through when the question is asked ‘what morals do you hold true?’.
The story provides small accents of her community and her life without giving explanation, which is a refreshing detail allowing for some mystery and acceptance to sit in the spotlight, following the same old argument that ‘not EVERYTHING needs to be explained to you’, instead saying that to be Indigenous is to be unapologetic in your journey.

2. Character
Brought to life by the amazing Alaqua Cox in her first role, Maya Lopez AKA ECHO is hearing impaired and is an amputee. Together with a perfect cast who helps to breath life into the overall story, from Vincent D’Onofrio and Zahn McClarnon to the incredible Tantoo Cardinal and Devery Jacobs, just to name a few, the passion can easily be seen on the screen and emotions felt by each and every one on that screen. The character of ECHO places her as a formidable opponent within the street-level landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I for one am excited to see the journey of ECHO and how her story will unfold with many of these other street-level characters within the MCU such as Daredevil, Punisher, Jessica Jones and perhaps Spiderman.

I often like these sorts of shows and movies which give the audience a look at the real world asking how the world would function with these heroes and icons in it, bringing into the mix these other-worldly powers giving characters an edge, while how those powers are used are determined by the very value of that character.

But, what sets ECHO apart from others?
To semi-quote the wisdom of Chula ‘they are the Echoes of generations calling through you’. Which is to say, through you ECHO as a vessel, the power of our Gods/Ancestors/Matriarchs will travel. This narrative might be seen as removed from the broader MCU storytelling that Gods and Deities could be seen as other-human/other-worldly or a force from an entirely different world or multiverse. ECHO challenges this notion saying that her powers ultimately come from her culture, Ancestors and Elders, following the track of iconic Indigenous women.

3. Indigenous Representation
I am Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri, my family ties runs along the Murray River of Victoria, through to the mouth of the river in South Australia, I can only write this from my own perspectives as an Indigenous man. Watching ECHO fulfils a sense of familiarity, an almost deja vu like feeling, some sense of home, many of the concepts and narratives easily identifiable in familiar tendencies I commonly have seen around the family charismas table when I was younger traveling to my grandparents with a convoy of other family members and community, or even at the emotion fueled marches where the injustices and oppression is highlighted via a reflection up to contemporary western structures of society… but that’s an article onto itself, and would require many more pages.

ECHO is a good reflection of Self-Determination and good storytelling. Ensuring that the Choctaw Nation were involved in the very early stages of production ensured their community were happy with this product, embedding part of their own creation story within the universe that is MCU.

ECHO is a refreshing breeze in the MCU, translating the complexities of a WHOLE Indigenous culture into 5 short episodes.

Some editing points provided some awkward, perhaps clunky moments and it may be seen to be somewhat ‘slow’ in parts, but these are minuscule in comparison. I enjoyed ECHO, what it represents, what it means for the future of Indigenous representation in the MCU and what this platform could unlock for many of the other Indigenous characters held within the world of Marvel!