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Marvel Has A New Death - And MCU Fans Won't Believe Who It Is

The living embodiment of Death has taken a new host in the Marvel Universe and it's one fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't believe: Agent Phil Coulson.

Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is a hero on the big and small screen, helping Earth's Mightiest Heroes as part of S.H.I.E.L.D in multiple MCU films, and leading his own team in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." However, in the comics, he's gone down a much more villainous path. After his death, Coulson made a deal with Mephisto to be resurrected in exchange for serving Marvel's devil. In the "Heroes Reborn" event, they work together to reshape reality, creating a world where the Squadron Supreme — led by a Galactus-killing Hyperion, Marvel's dark answer to Superman — is on top, while the Avengers don't exist. Eventually, Coulson is defeated. But, in "Thanos Annual" #1 (by Derek Landy, Sara Pichelli, Mattia Iacono, and VC's Travis Lanham), he rises once again.

In the event, Thanos transforms Death into the Death Stone, a seventh Infinity Stone containing his rejected love's essence. The Mad Titan is jumping across the universe to find the five living hosts of the Infinity Stones: The Space Stone bonds with Quantum, the Reality Stone chooses Star, the Time Stone combines with Overtime, the Power Stone is swallowed by the Prince of Power, while the Soul Stone ends up with the synthezoid Multitude — with Marvel yet to reveal what happened with the Mind Stone. As Thanos seeks out the other six Infinity Stones to pair with the dark new gem, the Death Stone has found a new host in Coulson as he's horrifyingly brought back to life.

Meet Agent Coulson - the new host of the Death Stone

In "Thanos Annual" #1's backup story, Nighthawk, who remembers the "Heroes Reborn" reality where his Squadron Supreme served under Coulson, goes on a mission to find the Infinity Stones so he can bring back the erased reality created by Mephisto. He successfully finds the Death Stone — fresh from leaving Thanos as his plan to get a fully loaded Infinity Gauntlet fails — at a graveyard, but doesn't know what it is as he's never seen it before. Upon reaching out for the gem, it explodes with energy, summoning a skeleton from the ground and bonding with a corpse, slowly rebuilding and giving it life. Nighthawk expresses shock at seeing the gem merge with Agent Phil Coulson as he becomes the living embodiment of the Death Stone.

This not only brings back the character from the dead and gives a sinister new role to the hero-turned-villain, but also likely comes with some incredible powers that the living embodiment of Death previously wielded. Will he be able to control death itself? If he can, Nighthawk may get his wish in the reality from "Heroes Reborn" being remade, especially if he's able to track down the other Infinity Stones to further reshape space and time. Thanos can't be thrilled with the Death Stone not only abandoning him but also choosing a host; there's little chance any good is going to come out of the dark events, at least for those trying to protect the cosmic artifacts from falling into the wrong hands.