10 Most Tragic Deaths In The History Of Marvel Comics

10. Victoria Hand

Former head of SHIELD Victoria Hand was on of the best recent creations in the Marvel Universe. You don't often get creative teams coming up with totally new characters, especially when the Marvel sandbox already includes so many toys with which to play - and besides, whenever a new character does get introduced, they're either killed off immediately in a red shirt fashion, or they're so naff that nobody bothers to use them again. Hand stood out from her ill-fated peers because she was really freaking cool, and despite only debuting in 2008, quickly became an essential part of the muky behind-the-scenes SHIELD stuff which keeps the superhero universe ticking over.

She even got adopted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her appearances on the Agents Of SHIELD TV show, which isn't bad for a character with a fraction of the history of Nick Fury. But then Hand appeared fully formed, an engaging character from the start, with appearances in Invincible Iron Man and New Avengers rocketing her from an accountant to the head of SHIELD (at the expense of a girlfriend, but whatevs). Okay, so it turned out that was mainly a plot by Norman Osborn to destroy the organisation from within, and her methods since then were sometimes suspect - Spider-Man notably never revealed his secret identity to her, because he didn't trust her - but dammit she got results.

Victoria Hand was a morally complex and refreshingly progressive character for Marvel, which made it all the more heartbreaking when just four years after her first appearance, she ended up six feet under. Whilst possessed by magician Daniel Drumm, Hand was forced to kill to kill Daimon Hellstrom and Jennifer Kale, before Doctor Strange could subdue her. She got sent to the astral plane, where Drumm murdered her. She got buried in the backyard of the Avengers Mansion, has a statue of her then in her memory, and we have something in both our eyes now...

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Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/