Marvel Just Brought Back Coulson

Agent Phil Coulson just returned to duty in the Marvel Universe, with a new boss and a new superhero team.

SPOILERS for Avengers #10 by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, David Marquez, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert, and Andrea Sorrentino follow.

In the Marvel Universe, Phil "Cheese" Coulson was a US Ranger who fought alongside fellow Ranger Marcus Johnson in Afghanistan. When Johnson's mother died, Coulson returned to America with his friend and learned that Marcus was actually Nick Fury's son. When Marcus, now known as Nick Fury Jr., decided to follow in his father's footsteps, Coulson wasn't far behind. They both became agents of SHIELD.

Coulson continued serving in SHIELD until the organization came under the control of Steve Rogers. Coulson was among the first to piece together that Captain America was a Hydra double agent. Coulson went rogue and Cap, soon to be revealed as Hydra's Supreme Commander, sent Deadpool to clean up the matter. Deadpool, trusting Captain America implicitly, murdered Coulson.

Eventually, the Supreme Commander's treachery was revealed and Hydra took control of the United States. The heroes of the Marvel Universe formed a resistance and, with an assist from the freshly-returned true Captain America, were able to overthrow Hydra.

The battle left scars. SHIELD, considered complicit in the Hydra takeover, was disbanded. The Avengers, having lost the trust of the public, also disbanded. It took Loki directing the Final Host to attack the Earth to force a new team of Avengers to assemble.

In most cases, the various iterations of the Avengers have operated with some sort of mandate or approval from the United States government. That's not the case for this new team. Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, each having seen their own vision for the Avengers become reality and then fall apart, unanimously decided to make Black Panther the new Avengers chairman. Given that Black Panther is the King of Wakanda, this move doesn't sit well with the US government.

Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross tells Captain America as much, and Cap informs Ross that the Avengers don't work for the US government and have no intention of appealing for its permission to defend the Earth. Ross feels backed into a corner. The Avengers are at odds with, or at least no longer on friendly terms with, the United States government. Captain America is on even worse terms. SHIELD is gone. He decides his only course of action is to call in "the agent" to put together a solution.

That agent is Agent Phil Coulson. The solution is the Squadron Supreme of America.

Squadron Surpreme of America
(Photo: Ed McGuinness, Jason Aaron, Marvel Entertainment)

There's no clue here as to how Coulson is once again among the living. Perhaps he's a life model decoy or maybe Marvel will introduce its own version of TAHITI. Whatever the means of his resurrection, he's now assigned to Marvel's answer to the Justice League of America, which suggests big things are in his future.

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