Two of writer/artist David Mack's more memorable creations - former Daredevil love interest Echo and the haunting Kabuki, star of the creator-owned series of the same name - soon will be back on comic-shop racks.
Echo - last seen when the Mack-written "Parts of a Hole" saga concluded in "Daredevil" #15 - returns to Ol' Hornhead's corner of Hell's Kitchen in September's "Daredevil" #51. It's the start of a new six-issue arc that focuses on the young woman known as Maya Lopez, a tale that Mack will write and illustrate.
"It really chronicles her life growing up deaf, how she sees the world and sees her environment," Mack said during an interview at Wizard World Chicago. "And a lot of it deals with her Native American culture and Native American history."
Among the Native American aspects Mack examines are the roles of the storyteller and shaman in that ancient culture. He visited those elements in "Parts of a Hole," particularly in Echo's performance-art piece in issue #10.
"It takes a lot of things we touched on in 'Parts of a Hole' and builds on it," Mack explained.
The new story will examine how Echo - who cannot hear but can mimic any action she sees, including talking - developed that particular talent. Mack also plans to delve a bit more deeply into Echo's traumatic childhood, a period marred by the murder of her father at the hands of the Kingpin.
"It shows that what a person does in his (or her) adult life is often shaped by a traumatic experience in childhood," Mack said.
Mack showed off copies of the painted covers to the new arc at his Wizard World booth. Although all of them were striking, one stood out: an illustration of a certain adamantium-clawed mutant hero. Don't expect Echo to mix it up with the X-Men, the Avengers, Dr. Doom or the rest of the Marvel Universe anytime soon. Mack said any guest characters Echo encounters will be meeting her on her level, not theirs.
As for Mack's long-awaited return to "Kabuki," Image Comics will publish a new book called "Kabuki: The Alchemy" as soon as his run on "Daredevil" concludes, probably in early 2004. The adventure picks up immediately after the end of "Kabuki: Metamorphosis," the nine-issue mini-series that saw Kabuki escape from a government-run institution for former secret agents. Now that she's come to terms with her troubled past and has escaped the Japanese government's clutches, Kabuki plans to start fresh with a new identity, Mack said.
"She's not interested in repeating this cycle of violence," he explained. "She's outside of it now. Now she has a brand-new opportunity to create a new life. It's a whole new direction that nobody would have expected."
Also returning in the new title is Kabuki's friend from the institution, Akemi, who - when last seen in the final issue of "Metamorphosis" - had decided to infiltrate the government agency that Kabuki had been part of.
"Akemi does play a big role," Mack confirmed.