I think it’s great that Agent Coulson will be a major part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and isn’t actually dead despite all the evidence from The Avengers (spoiler! …double spoiler?), but something struck me while I was reading Joss Whedon’s rationale:
The idea of the Little Guy is something that I am very fierce about, and there has never been a better Little Guy than Clark Gregg. That intrigued me, this world around the superhero community. It’s the people whose shop windows get blown up when the Destroyer shows up.
My immediate, cynical response was that he might have thought of that before he killed the guy in the first place. And that’s actually a problem I have with almost everything Whedon’s done, because an important corollary to his penchant for killing off characters is that it’s almost always the little guys who take the fall.