Victoria Louise Hand

Victoria HandIn this week Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, The Hub, we met a couple of characters, a brand new one, and an old acquaintance. The new one is Victoria Hand, portrayed by Saffron Burrows and introduced as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, director of The Hub, a secret base of the world’s biggest and baddest counter-espionage agency. She proves to be quite the cold-hearted one in handling Phil Coulson‘s team, but she’s nevertheless portrayed as a proficient and professional agent, doing what’s necessary for reaching a result. Well, in the comics she’s been introduced as a professional agent, sure, but not exactly a fighter for justice, especially in the Dark Avengers saga. Let’s see together who Victoria Hand is in the comics.

Nothing or less is known about Victoria Louise Hand‘s past before joining S.H.I.E.L.D., but, looking at her recent history, it’s positive she received a superior instruction, and it’s likely she came from a well-off family. An idealistic, she wanted to protect the world at any cost, and joined the counter-espionage. A S.H.I.E.L.D. accountant, she started dating a colleague, Isabelle, and the two started a relationship. Victoria grew more and more unsatisfied with Director Nick Fury‘s approach over the War on Terror, and decided to write a letter to him. Isabelle tried to dissuade her, but she didn’t listen to her girlifrend, and wrote and sent the letter. As a result, she was immediately transferred to a base in PortlandOregon, and Isabelle, angry at her since she didn’t want to listen, broke with her. Angry and alone, she kept disapproving Fury’s policy, and, when Tony Stark became the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, she started going also against his policy. Three years after her first letter, however, the Skrulls invaded Earth, revealing that they had been posing as some of the heroes for years. This was a proof, for Victoria, that she had been right from the very start: Fury and Stark were unable to see even the enemies standing literally at their sides. When Norman Osborn won the war killing Skrull Queen Veranke on-camera, Victoria thought that maybe the right man for the right job had arrived. Osborn was later appointed Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and his first official act was to fire Stark, dismantle the organization, and found the H.A.M.M.E.R. in its place (oddly enough, the new name wasn’t even an acronym, and Hand’s firstvictoriahandcomics1 task was to find a good one to fill with the letters). Because of Victoria’s strong positions against Fury and Stark, Osborn found her suitable for his new organization, and enlisted her as Deputy Director of H.A.M.M.E.R., and sometimes personal assistant to Osborn himself.

Seeing in the Skrulls’ invasion’s hero the strong leader who could finally bring peace to the world, Victoria willingly followed his agenda, and accomplished any task she was assigned with proficiency and determination. For first, she was asked to eliminate from H.A.M.M.E.R. any agent still loyal to Nick Fury, Tony Stark or Captain America, something that Hand did gladly, despite missing some double-agent. She also supported Osborn’s policy against superheroes, and his progressive action of substituting the heroes with “reformed” villains. When Osborn founded the new Avengers (composed by himself as Iron PatriotMoonstone as the new Ms. MarvelBullseye as the new HawkeyeVenom as the new Spider-Man, Daken as the new Wolverine, the god of war Ares and the deranged superpowered Sentry), Victoria was given quite an authority over the team, and often clashed with Moonstone, who was in theory Osborn’s second in command (the two settled down their mutual despisal by going together on a two-men mission against Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk). Hand followed Osborn in almost everyone of his illegal maneuvres: shooting down a plane to see how much powerful Pepper Potts‘s new armor, Rescue, was; hunting public enemy number one Iron Man down to Russia, an operation that led to the arrest of Pepper, Black Widow and Maria Hill; allying with dangerous characters such as Doctor Doom to encrease H.A.M.M.E.R.’s personal power; enlisting new villains in a new formation of the Thunderbolts, and so on. Despite the clear lack of ethics in what she was doing for Osborn, Victoria still thought that the ends justified the means, and that Osborn was really working for world’s peace, although through an unregular system. After victoriahandcomics2some problems concerning Clint Barton (the original Hawkeye), who exposed many of H.A.M.M.E.R.’s deeds, and the unavoidable consequences of the alliance with Doom, plus the action of disturbance coming from the heroes, Osborn decided to attack Asgard, making the Aesir look like mass-murderers. Victoria, with a H.A.M.M.E.R. armor, joined the battle, but when Sentry was overcome with his killer personality Void and went rampage, killing Ares in the process, she was warmly invited by Stark to abandon her ship, since he wanted to use it as a giant bullet against Void. At the end of the battle, Osborn was arrested and exposed as the Green Goblin, while Void was killed by Thor. Understanding her mistakes, Victoria didn’t resist arrest. Steve Rogers, however, the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director, decided she deserved a second chance because of her good intentions, and assigned her to the New Avengers project. This time, Victoria had the possibility to really work for world peace.

Victoria Hand is an extremely intelligent woman, a skilled spy and a gifted tactician. Her view on the world, a dark place full of people who need to be controlled, makes her cold and sometimes ruthless, ready to do anything to ensure world peace, a value she has idealized to a personal guidance. Trained in armed and unarmed combat, Victoria Hand’s first and main resource remains her brain, a sharp intelligence that allows her to see paths and plans where somebody else only sees chaos.

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