For a little while, that was pretty much it for Echo, outside of a fill-in story David Mack both wrote and painted. In it, Echo went out on her own and did her own Native American vision quest, where she came across and befriended Wolverine. Otherwise, it looked like she was going to just fall into obscurity, especially as Murdock had moved on to another love interest and Fisk’s eyes healed over time.
Brian Michael Bendis was writing plenty of books at the time and in addition to Daredevil, he was in the beginning of a very long and important run on Avengers. The event Avengers Disassembled did what the title promised and caused the classic lineup on the team to split up. Much like in the MCU, the Avengers as we know it stopped existing and created a void in its aftermath.
As time passed, the team would be reborn as the New Avengers, but with an oddball lineup. Mainstays Captain America and Iron Man returned, joined by beloved mainstream favorites Spider-Man and Wolverine. Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, and the overly powerful enigma the Sentry were brought in. Then there was Ronin, the mysterious martial artist in a black mask. Ronin showed up in promotional material and many, MANY comic covers, but it would take a while for Bendis to get around to introducing the mystery hero.
Who is Ronin?
The original plan was for Ronin to turn out to be Daredevil. He was dealing with the public figuring out his secret identity, so Ronin was going to be a second hero persona. With those plans nixed, there was plenty of speculation on who it was going to be. Luke Cage was on the team, so perhaps this was a new look for his good buddy Iron Fist? The story arc introducing Ronin even played with the reader by heavily implying that Ronin was Elektra, but some figured out who Ronin truly was via a subtle tip-off that suggested she couldn’t hear.
And yes, Ronin turned out to be Echo. This led to two major moments, which also have ties to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
First, her war with the Hand ninja clan led to her killing their then-leader Elektra, who was revealed to be a Skrull in disguise. This got the ball rolling for Marvel’s Secret Invasion, which is also getting its own Disney+ adaptation. The other was giving up her Ronin identity and handing it over to the recently resurrected Clint Barton. Hawkeye couldn’t be Hawkeye anymore, so he fought as Ronin for a bit.
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