In the seventh episode of Daredevil, titled “Stick”, it’s largely assumed that we saw our first appearance of The Hand in the MCU. This article is dedicated to explaining who the Hand is, different ways we may have seen them already, and possibly where they could be going in the Defenders series.
The Hand in the Comics
In the comics, the Hand was the creation of Frank Miller. It was first seen in the Elektra Saga, which was MIller’s first run in the comics. The Hand is a clan of assassins from Japan that have fought against numerous characters on the street level, such as Daredevil, Iron Fist, and even Wolverine. They are more than just warriors, however. They have ties in dark magic, to the point where Hand ninjas burst into dust when defeated, rather than be taken captive.
They have been ruled by different people throughout the years, including Elektra (before it was revealed that she was actually a Skrull in the secret invasion) and… Spoiler alert… even Daredevil. This event was called Shadowland. The Hand demanded that Daredevil take over the Hand and began to threaten elements of Matt’s life to make the offer more enticing (for the record, this was before any current TV shows this sounds familiar to). Matt finals agrees, becomes possessed by a demon, and builds a Japanese castle over a block of Hell’s kitchen, in which he rules with fear and death. It takes a coalition of street heroes to bring him down. This event is the culmination of Daredevil Volume 2.
Why do I bring this up? I’ll elaborate on it later. The rest of this article may follow along the same fear of spoilers as the previous paragraph introduced. If you’re good with that, read on. If now, something something only time will tell.
Where the Hand has been seen so far
Much of our knowledge of the Hand in the Netflix series comes from either the episode “Stick” or the character of Nobu.
In the comics, Stick was against the Hand, despite once being a part of them. His war that Stick mentioned repeated was waged on The Hand, signifying the evil. The supernatural themes surrounding the Black Sky reek heavily of the hand. The entire end scene with the unseen, yet scarred man was very representative of the Hand and its various story arcs.
There is significant evidence that Nobu is a member of the Hand. Not only does his costume in the battle with Daredevil represent the standard ninja outfit of the Hand, but the character is specifically from Japan, where the Hand hails from. The character was heavily involved in the Black Sky import, which if we are to assume it was Hand-related, would mean that Nobu was a part of the Hand.
If Nobu is a member of the Hand, his actions regarding a certain block in Hell’s Kitchen appears very interesting. In exchange for his services, Nobu wanted a specific block in Hell’s Kitchen. Fisk offered him others, but he was uninterested. It’s important to note that Shadowland is not the only time the Hand has built a fortress in order to mount their world order. At one point, they attempted to bring the inter-dimensional city of K’un Lun to Tokyo to use as a fortress. In both cases, the Hand attempted to be in complete control of the location of the fortress.
Where could they be going with The Hand?
It’s possible that the Netflix series are building toward a Shadowland event. The emphasis on a block in Hell’s kitchen is heavily rooted in Shadowland. This has been evidenced in the shadowy talk at the end of “Stick”, in which the unseen scarred man asks if Matt will be ready when “the doors open”. There is no clear comic parallel with this vague language, but the emphasis on Matt’s importance is very interesting. This event is also the culmination of the Hand over decades.
This could also be the Defenders miniseries. In the comics, Shadowland involved almost every street level hero. It was a crossover much like the Defenders have been promised to be. It’s possible that the Defenders may not be this immediately, but we are already seeing it set up, so we could see it a couple years down the road.
What do you think? I know there is a spectrum of acceptance, so to speak, of this theory. How far along do you subscribe? Do you believe that the Hand has been featured? Do you believe that Nobu was a member of the Hand? Do you believe that the city block was meant for a fortress? Finally, do you believe this is culminating in Shadowland? Let me know in the comments. I would love to know how much you buy into. Undoubtably, we will see more of this in season 2, so for now only time will tell.
Also, just for full disclosure, yes we did wee the Hand in the Elektra movie, but no, we don’t talk about it.