If Agent Phil Coulson did die in The Avengers movie, and a big ole hole where your heart used to be would pretty much indicate death, could he be a LMD?
LMD = Life Model Decoy : A S.H.I.E.L.D. designed robot/android that duplicates all aspects of the living person they are posing as.
I bring this question up for two reasons :
1- Back in a 1977 issue of Defenders and then recently in Secret Avengers one of the LMD's of Nick Fury went rogue and called himself Max Fury. He had aligned himself with Scorpio, join the Shadow Council and was even a member of the Descendants.
2- In The Avengers movie Tony Stark tries to avoid a phone call from Agent Coulson by claiming, in an answering machine voice, that the caller has reached 'Tony Stark's Life Model Decoy' instead of Tony himself.
I find it interesting that it was brought up in the only other thing Joss Whedon has done for MARVEL...