If there's one thing Joss Whedon is known for, it's being awesome. But if there's another thing, it's his proclivity toward killing beloved characters in his TV shows and movies—and The Avengers is no exception. Here's a very spoilery eulogy for characters those we loved and lost ... because Joss took them away.
Personally, I don't think he does it because he gets some twisted charge out of wholesale character decimation—I think Whedon gets a perfectly understandable charge out of telling stories in which the loss of characters like Jenny Calendar, Hoban Washburne and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce are inevitable and emotional. (Yes, I know that Angel's Cordelia Chase and Dollhouse's Topher Brink bought the collective farm, but they weren't quite surprising or affecting enough to make the cut.)
Maybe he also loves tears. Jury's still out on that one.