The nascent Hand first formed about 800 years ago in feudal Japan, as a reaction to the oppressive class system that characterized Japanese society in that period. A number of Japanese citizens left their homes and settled in the mountains. There, they cultivated skill in ninjutsu, and through rigorous training became experts at assassination and espionage. The group officially came together in 1588 under the command of Kagenobu Yoshioka, who turned his samurai school into a bastion of support for the common man. Yoshioka was eventually assassinated, and command of the group co-opted by the Snakeroot, an ancient ninja clan who turned the Hand to demon worship and black magic. The Hand began working as mercenaries, and sought to extend its influence throughout the world.
The Hand was created by Frank Miller.
The Hand consists largely of unknown masked people, but has featured numerous named characters at various points in its history. Throughout its history various heroes have been press-ganged into service by the dark magic of the Hand. They have also employed numerous villains.
Major Story Arcs
The Hand comes into constant conflict with a heroic group known as the Chaste. This conflict is the first encounter with the Hand experienced by both Daredevil and Elektra, with the latter first infiltrating and later joining the Hand for a time. The conflict eventually results in the defeat of the Hand, but also in the deaths of the Chaste's leader, Stick, and a member of the group named Shaft.
Enemy of the State
The Hand, alongside scion organization HYDRA and the mutant group Dawn of the White Light, orchestrates the abduction of Wolverine. They brainwash him, and set him loose, intending to use him as the weapon he was designed to be to kill members of the superhero community. They send numerous operatives out across the world to deal with opponent superheroes, with limited success. They manage to kill and resurrect Elektra and Northstar, both of whom are brainwashed to act as weapons for the Hand and HYDRA. Meanwhile, Wolverine escapes his brainwashing and turns on the Hand, commandeering a Sentinel and invading their headquarters, destroying many of the Hand's members, as well as the organization's elite, with the assistance of Elektra, who had also managed to escape her conditioning.
Daredevil takes over command of the Hand after the Hand's repeated attempts to acquire a new warlord. He constructs a new headquarters for them in Hell's Kitchen, called Shadowland, and dedicates himself into remodelling the group into a force for good. The group begins to corrupt him instead. After Daredevil kills Bullseye, he and members of the Hand crash the funeral and engage in a massive brawl which almost results in the death of the captive Ben Urich. After a number of clashes between the Hand and the members of the superhero community, it is revealed that Daredevil is possessed by the demonic Beast of the Hand. He is defeated and apparently kills himself; in the ensuing confusion, control of the Hand is seized by Kingpin and Typhoid Mary.
The Hand appears as the major antagonistic organization in this film.
A similar organization known as the Black Ninja Clan appears in this film. They are a powerful group of ninja who have protected Mariko Yashida's family for generations, and are led by Harada.
One of the recurring villains in the first season is a Japanese criminal known as Nobu (played by Peter Shinkoda). Though initially believed to be part of the Yakuza, he turns out to be part of a mysterious, ancient syndicate from Japan, which is heavily implied to be the Hand. During his final fight with Daredevil, Nobu dons a red ninja outfit similar to the ones worn by members of the Hand in the comics.
The Hand reappear in season two and plays a much larger part. It is revealed that Nobu is still alive after apparently burning to death. Their mission to activate the Black Sky, who is revealed to be Elektra. They are ultimately thwarted and defeated.
The Hand once again play a large role. It is revealed that the Iron Fist is their sworn enemy for many years, and that Madame Gao, from the Daredevil series, is the leader of the Chinese branch. It also revealed that the Gao's function of the Hand are secretly in control of Rand Corporation and Harold Meachum. Another function of the Hand is in command of Bakuto, who is in charge of recruiting youths from come from broken homes and tragic backgrounds. Colleen Wing is revealed to be a member of the Hand, but she leaves after seeing their darker side.
X-Men: Wolverine's Rage
The Hand appear as antagonists.
X-Men vs Street Fighter
The Hand appear in Cammy's ending, where they try to draw her into their ranks after she loses her memories. Psylocke intervenes and rescues the girl before they can take her.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The Hand appears as an antagonistic organization in this game.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Members of the Hand appear, as does the Hand's headquarters and Shadowland.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance
Various members of the Hand appear in this game.
- Hasbro released a Hand figure as part of a two-pack with Wolverine.
- Hasbro released a Hand figure as part of a Marvel Legends two-pack with Nick Fury. A variant of the pack was also released, with a Hand member clad in white robes facing off against Dum Dum Dugan.
- Hasbro released a Hand figure as part of the Marvel Universe line.
- Hasbro also released a Hand figure as part of the Marvel Universe "Soldiers and Henchmen" three-pack, which also included a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and a HYDRA soldier.