SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Daredevil Annual" #1, on sale now.
With over fifty years of comics to his name, Daredevil has amassed a large cast of supporting players and villains. With so many characters in play, it's sometimes hard to find roles for all of them and keep them active in the lone "Daredevil" ongoing series. Today's "Daredevil Annual" #1, however, brought back two characters that have been out of the spotlight for a very long time: Echo and Gladiator.
The superhero known as Echo became a major player in the Marvel Universe in the early-to-mid '00s. After being introduced by David Mack and Joe Quesada in 1999's "Daredevil" #9, Maya Lopez would go on to become a major supporting player in Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's "Daredevil" run. The deaf superhero's profile was raised even higher when Bendis gave her the codename Ronin and placed her on his Avengers team in the pages of "New Avengers."
Bendis and Maleev returned to the character for their run on "Moon Knight," which began in 2011. They made Echo one of Marc Spector's allies, but the character didn't survive that series. Echo was seemingly killed by Count Nefaria during a battle, and has not been seen in a comic in the last four years.
"Daredevil Annual" #1 undoes Echo's death four years ago. Maya Lopez returns in the issue (she's even on the cover) in a story from current "Daredevil" writer Charles Soule and artist Vanesa R. Del Rey. The issue does not reference her death or explain how she survived Count Nefaria's attack. In the issue, Lopez seeks out Daredevil's help after an attack by the villain Klaw turns everyone that hears a frequency into one of his mindless minions. Lopez being deaf, she's immune to the attack and is able to fight against Klaw. While the issue doesn't address the character's death in "Moon Knight," it does establish that Echo is once again a player in the Marvel Universe.
The second story in the annual comes from classic "Daredevil" writer Roger McKenzie and artist Ben Torres, and it features the return of the villain Gladiator. The character last appeared in the future-set "Daredevil: End of Days" limited series in 2013, but you'll have to go back even further to find Melvin Potter's last in-continuity appearance. Gladiator hasn't appeared in-continuity since 2007's "Daredevil" #99. In the meantime, however, Potter's gained notoriety as a supporting player on Netflix's "Daredevil" series, where he's played by Matt Gerald.
Whether either of these characters will appear in the main "Daredevil" ongoing series remains unknown. The next issue of that series, "Daredevil" #10, arrives in stores on August 10.