Marvel Phase 4 – Just What is Going On Part 2


Part 1 can be found here.

I wasn’t thinking about doing a part two to my post last week on the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4. In fact, I pretty much had said my piece about it. But something hit me as odd the other day, so I figured I would dive into it a little bit more.

So up until Phase 4, all our storytelling was done on the big screen. Well, that’s not entirely correct. We had the Netflix shows which clearly were in the same world (they even mention the Incident or something like that when refering to the events of the Avengers movie). And then there was Agents of SHIELD which took a movie character, Agent Colston, and built a story around him and his team at SHIELD. That one didn’t really influence much (if anything) in the movies, but it did have to react to the big moments in some of the films (with one of the biggest reflecting HYDRA’s infiltration of SHIELD, which the tv show dealt with much of the fallout from Winter Soldier).

Oh, and Agent Carter, which tied into the Captain America movies as well as Black Widow.

Regardless, the movies played on one side and the tv shows were on another. The movies were the only thing to push the overall Infinity Stones story-arc forward.


It’s actually sad that there wasn’t a Marvel show set during the 5-years post SNAP. It seems like there might be a lot of stuff to mine from that era, and yet aside from a couple of flashbacks here or there, there isn’t much story being told about that time.


However, when you talk about Phase 4, you can’t ignore the tv shows. Or, at least, you likely can’t ignore them. Hawkeye is somewhat of a sequel to the Black Widow movie. Loki introduces Kang, who is our villain in Ant Man 3 and is the BIG BAD for the Phase 4 through 6 movies. Falcon and Winter Soldier sets up Sam Wilson as your new Captain America, leading straight into Captain America 4: New World Order. Even Ms. Marvel is going to be in the Captain Marvel sequel: Marvels.

Oh, and I nearly forgot about Scarlet Witch in WandaVision and then following up on her in Doctor Strange 2.

Ok, we get it. You need to watch the tv shows to get the full picture. So what?

Well, here’s the thing. If you are only focused on the cinema side of things, then you are going to miss out on not only the introduction of some (many) of the characters and storylines in the upcoming Phase 5 (and potentially Phase 6) movies, you are potentially not seing the bigger picture. It the multiverse storyline feels a bit hodgepodge to you, perhaps it is because you didn’t watch Loki (or What If?) where that is an extremely important portion of the overall story. In fact, it pretty much sets things in motion for the next phases of stories.

Put another way:

Phase 1 – 6 movies (2008 – 2012)

Phase 2 – 6 movies (2013 – 2015)

Phase 3 – 11 movies (2016 – 2019)

Phase 4 – 7 movies (2021-2022), 8 tv shows (2021-2022)

Phase 5 – 6 movies (2023-2024), 7 tv shows (2023-2024)

Phase 6 – 7 movies (2024-2026)

We’re used to getting about 6 movies ever two years. However, for Phase 4, we not only had 7 movies, but another 8 tv shows. Now there’s an arguement to be made that might be too much, but the other aspect is that if you are bitching you can’t see the BIG STORY from the Phase 4 movies, I’d argue you need to watch the tv shows as well. They have clearly been intended as a part of the BIG STORY.

To put it another way, it would be like reading the BIG EVENT Comic Book, without reading some of the key issues leading up to it. Sure, you can understand what is going on alright enough, but you might be missing out on some of the bigger context of how things connect.

It’s something Marvel hasn’t asked us do prior to this last two years either. Where before the tv shows were something that could be watched or not watched, these fall more in line with potentially KEY STORIES. Which the end result is to allow Marvel to tell their story over the course of 6 years rather than 12 years.


This isn’t to say you have to watch all the tv shows. I haven’t gotten to all of them, and I would argue that Moon Knight doesn’t really tie to anything else (as of yet). What If? is also one that is more for those paths not taken and could be skipped. But, for better or worse, Marvel has decided to make these shows a part of the narrative. To ignore them is to only get a portion of the story.


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

YOU Season 2 – A Review

I did a review about season 1 here.

When I was watching Season 1 of YOU, there was always this little voice in the back of my head that said: “yes, I get that this guy is the bad guy, but I’m still pulling for him.” Or at least, I was kinda hoping he’d end up with the “Girl” and they’d live happily ever after like some kind of modern fairy tale that starts off with a guy stalking the object of his obsession.

But deep down I understood that Joe couldn’t do that. He wasn’t the hero of the story. He was the villain of the piece.

This season is a different story, but with very familiar beats. The guy is new to town. Guy meets girl. They get together. The guy is a bit obsessed with girl. People die.

Yet, I had my eyes completely open with this. I knew who Joe was the whole time. I knew the warning signs of the path he was heading down. I understood that no matter how much he may want love to lead him on the right path, he doesn’t know how to really be in love.

And I was pulling for him the entire time.

Because Season 2 is somewhat of a redemption story for old Stalker Joe. He recognizes the bad within him as well. He wants to be better. He wants to be good.

He wants to be worthy of Love (both the actual idea of it and the woman of his obsession: LOVE).

However, that means he has to go down a different path than any he’d done before. He needs to understand what it is he is doing and then really think it through. No more acting on pure instinct. He must be thoughtful or he won’t get what he truly desires in the end.

The big difference in the two seasons is really that we aren’t entirely sure what kind of show we’re watching for much of the first season. Is it a love story? Is it a weird episode of Dexter? Is it about two people who are so damaged that they just might deserve each other? The second season asks us to forget what we know about the show and ask us what does our “hero” really wants? Now we see the pitfalls coming and can shout at the screen for him to make a different decision. When he does, we can see that this version of Joe is trying to make a change in the type of human being he really is. Where last year Beck’s friends were basically big pains in his ass, this season Love’s friends are people he genuinely likes. He sees how they are good for Love and she for them. That it is never a case of her putting them first because that’s what he loves about Love.

Even her brother, this constant thorn in his side. As the season progresses, I think Joe legitimately comes to like him and it isn’t for show. He sees the bond between the siblings and knows that he couldn’t break that apart and deep down, he wants to be a part of a family.

All of this makes for an interesting way to view a season that wants to remind you of the beats in season one, but then still do something different in this season. This season is more about families and how everyone is a little damaged and maybe that’s ok. Maybe family is who you choose more than your flesh and blood, but at the end of the day, you are willing to do whatever it takes for the people you love.

YOU – Season 2 – Love and Family…


John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

YOU – A Review

True love. Pure love. The kind they write the stories about. Those are the tales we hear about. Those are the tales the classics would have you believe might be the only way to capture LOVE for yourself. You merely have to wait for the right guy/girl to show up, and the rest is magic.

But there are other emotions that are like neighbours to Love. Obsession. Jealousy. Insanity.

And that brings me to YOU. Currently on Netflix.

This is how I have sold the show to people: You should watch “YOU”. It’s the story of a stalker from his point of view. And weirdly, you are kinda cheering for him at certain points. Like, I know he’s a bad guy, but she’s got issues as well and maybe, just maybe this is a case of two wrongs make a right? Maybe they should be together?

Yes. I know. That’s completely messed up.

But it is also a testament to the writing on the show. Based on the novel by Caroline Kepnes, which, I haven’t read it, it does an excellent job within the show in making you feel for Joe (our stalker antagonist). They make him human and not just this looming evil that is going to do some very bad thing to someone down the line. In some ways, it is much like watching something like Breaking Bad – you knew Walter was doing some terrible things, but you were still holding out hope for him (or at least I was). Or maybe it was at a certain point that we all knew he was too far gone and then watched to see exactly how far down the rabbit hole he’d end up.

Joe is kind of like that. There are certain points where you know he can’t come back from a particular action, but a part of you (me) was still kind of holding out hope that he’d figure it out. Maybe realize that this wasn’t the way to go about life?

Heck, one of the biggest things about the show is that Beck (the object of his obsession) has probably just as many issues as Joe does. They just come out in less destructive ways. She isn’t treated as this infallible creature who he must possess because she is a “unicorn”, but it is that mutual aspect of them both being messed up that can make you wonder if they aren’t really soulmates.

Just extremely messed up soulmates.

The show is a mystery. At various times I wasn’t entirely sure where we were going to end up. With TV you don’t know if they are going to save a big moment for the last episode. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a second season and maybe they were going to hold onto a couple of things for next year. They managed to keep the viewers just off enough that when something happened that you weren’t expecting, it wasn’t because it was completely out of the blue. Instead, it was more like you do the double-take and then realize that it made total sense for the path the characters were tumbling down.

YOU –  a study in obsession… and love (maybe).


By the way, did you know that I was participating in a Kickstarter for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons focused on Love, Knights, and Enchanters? It is called Love’s Labour’s Liberated. The Kickstarter runs through the end of the month. If you are a fan of roleplaying games, give it a look!


John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at


Y the Last Man


Rant mode on.

How is it we don’t have a Y the Last Man tv show yet?

Really… I want to know. If ever there was a comic made for tv, it was this one (my friends and I felt this way about another comic book for a long, long time – The Walking Dead – I’m just putting that out there). I wrote about this a couple of years ago (and still no show!) here.

To catch people up, Y the Last Man was a comic book series which ran from 2002 to 2008 (60 issues), written by Brian K. Vaughn (who I have a writing man-crush on as everything he writes I love), Pia Guerra, Goran Sudzuka, Paul Chadwick, and Jose Marzan Jr, about a plague which wipes out every male mammal on Earth other than Yorick and his pet monkey. As this is obviously the end of the world, he sets out to reunite with his fiance… who is half a world away. With his bodyguard and a scientist who is trying to figure out why Yorick survived in the first place, they encounter women rebuilding pieces of society, some helpful, some trying to kill him, and others unsure of what to make of the situation.

So this story has a core cast of 3 main characters, a handful of recurring characters, and literally has them set up where they could move from one town to another getting into various adventures on the way to trying to figure out why this happened in the first place and hopefully finding his true love. Much like the old tv show The Incredible Hulk, it becomes an easy conceit to move on from town to town and mission to mission over the course of maybe a 3-5 season series. Not saying that it needs to be padded at all, but things could be potentially expanded upon. One of the things I believe The Walking Dead TV Show did right was having Shane hang around longer than the 6 issues he survived within the comic. There is an opportunity to be able to clean up some things that maybe don’t completely work when translated from one medium to another.

I know that there have been talks over the years since the series ended. There was the talk of a movie and there have been talks of tv shows, but somehow, someway the people in charge just haven’t “gotten” it. Every few months I’ll do a Google Search and see that progress has stopped or maybe that someone else now has the reigns and is trying to push it forward, but they too get stalled out.

They haven’t realized that this is just a no-brainer.

I mean, it’s like a modern day storybook… but with more sadness and death.

But really, it wouldn’t take very much. The blueprint is there within those pages. All the twists and turns. Fighting, torture, revenge… chases, escapes, true love, miracles… all contained within those comic books… waiting, needing to be told to a larger audience. A story that is sad and beautiful and will make you cry and will make you scream in excitement.


John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at