ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Phoenix Song: Echo,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Echo: Phoenix Song #1 - But Why Tho

Phoenix Song: Echo #1 is written by Rebecca Roanhorse, illustrated by Luca Maresca, colored by Carlos Lopez, lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher, and published by Marvel Comics. After the events of “Enter the Phoenix” in Avengers, Maya Lopez/Echo finds herself in control of the Phoenix Force—though how much she is in control is the question. Looking for answers on why the Phoenix chose her, Maya travels back to her hometown to learn more about her past. But she must also contend with the Phoenix’s fiery bouts of rage and the X-Men‘s Forge attempting to sever her bond with the Phoenix by any means necessary.

This series serves as a way of reintroducing Echo into the limelight ahead of her eventual appearance on Hawkeye on Disney+, and it’s a success in my eyes. Even if you haven’t caught up on Avengers, the issue serves as a primer for the history of both its protagonist and the power she wields. Also as an X-Men fan, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have a Phoenix-focused story that isn’t centered on Jean Grey. Roanhorse’s script digs deep into Maya’s psyche, showing her underlying fear of the Phoenix and her desire to find some measure of control over it. Early in the issue, Maya confronts a gang of thieves and ends up burning one to death; that fire ends up spreading through an apartment building and terrifying a family within. Roanhorse also gets some mileage out of Maya’s interactions with Elektra Natchios and Forge—especially the latter, as she doesn’t take too kindly to his efforts to strip her of the Phoenix.

Maresca and Lopez give Maya a new design that incorporates elements of her Indigenous heritage, along with a Phoenix-shaped emblem for her belt and a golden version of her trademark face paint. They also cross a variety of locations, including Easter Island and even the surface of the Moon. Whenever Maya uses her Phoenix powers, she is depicted as a golden streak of light arching across the sky, and flames often surround her as her eyes glow a fiery orange. Even Maher’s letters highlight a change in Maya’s personality. One minute, her speech balloons are normal, and the next they take on the same reddish-orange hue as the Phoenix’s flames. I also appreciate that despite being possessed by a cosmic force, Maya’s deafness isn’t magically cured and she still reads people’s lips in order to understand what they’re saying. Too often, writers treat superpowers as a cure-all for various ailments or disabilities and I’m glad that isn’t the case here.

Phoenix Song: Echo #1 places Maya Lopez back in the spotlight while exploring her heritage and newfound connection to the Phoenix Force. Not only is this a perfect read for Marvel fans of all stripes, but it is also a good jumping-on point for new fans. With the ending promising a new enemy for Maya, and the second issue hinting at conflict with the X-Men, this series is off to a hell of a start.

Phoenix Song: Echo #1 will be available on Wednesday, October 20th wherever comics are sold.


Phoenix Song: Echo #1
4.5

TL;DR

Phoenix Song: Echo #1 places Maya Lopez back in the spotlight while exploring her heritage and newfound connection to the Phoenix Force. Not only is this a perfect read for Marvel fans of all stripes, but it is also a good jumping-on point for new fans. With the ending promising a new enemy for Maya, and the second issue hinting at conflict with the X-Men, this series is off to a hell of a start.