It's always interesting to see how a webcomic handles the death of a character; today's FF&HH is no exception to that rule.
The trouble is with the majority of comics, the death of a character (particularly a major one) is usually a watershed event, and that none of the future comics will be viewed the same way as the artist has made it clear that few people (except, usually, the title character(s)) are expendable. There are, of course, other similar events in comics, it doesn't have to be death directly. E.g. C-A-D's miscarriage storyline. Killed a lot of their readership in one fell swoop and a lot of people still haven't forgiven C-A-D for it yet. Readers have long memories.
Another example is Sluggy Freelance. Over the 4000+ strips, we've had fatalities, but usually of very minor characters and/or villains. None of the core cast has died, or at least stayed dead. Pete Abrams has said though that in Chapter 59 of the current book, that there will be a red-headed assassin and that it will "change everything" which many readers have taken to speculate that the very-able-to-regenerate Oasis will be back and that someone else will die. But he acknowledges that this will change everything. He even seems to acknowledge that many people will dislike it.
As for FF&HH, something was pinging about Mary Elizabeth dying. Whether it was going to be the result of her shaky hand, or the bad Doctor, was anyone's guess, but from the moment her shaky hand was mentioned to be serious, it did kind of smell of the inevitable.
The question now is what happens next. Characters die. Even major characters die sometimes. The question is what happens next. (Assuming, of course, that she actually is dead, and Martina didn't make a mistake in her diagnosis.)
It wasn't entirely unexpected, however I have to admit that I was expecting Basil to save her. I also think a number of the other readers were too.
I'm not trying to criticise FF&HH here, btw. I just think that the death of a character, seemingly one of the major characters, well, was a bit early. I came late to the party, I know, but as far as I'm concerned personally I still view July as the start of FF&HH, with the other stuff being prehistory, not the start of the strip, if that makes sense.
To me, we're on strip #76(+4) and it just felt a little early to kill a major character.
But I await eagerly to see what happens next. The doctor appears to have made a get-away for now.