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When we last saw John Stewart, he was pulled into an interdimensional portal, leaving Caolan Shepherd behind along with a construct of his sister Ellie to tend for his mother. In Green Lantern: War Journal #7, Phillip Kennedy Johnson slows the pace down just a bit and his overall story pivots to a new threat, the Star Shroud. The issue also checks in on Shirley Stewart’s declining health, with the situation getting more dire for John’s mother.

John finds himself alone and in the dark, with no power ring to shed some light on the situation. When some light does arrive, it’s in the form of the mindless Fenn, who have possession of John’s power ring. John gets his ring back and heads to space to discover that he’s is nowhere his ring can place him. His attention, and ours, is drawn to the Dark Star of the Fenn, what we are told is a breach in space and time, a gateway “to another world, where horrors dwell.” That description comes from Byla-Voq, another being who finds himself wherever this is. Byla seems to be the same Byla from Johnson’s “Warworld Saga”, connecting to the Old God Olgrun who was mentioned last issue. I say seems because Byla calls himself Byla-Voq here, whereas he was called Byla-Esh in “Warworld”. Byla knows of the other version of John, the Builder, so it seems that it is indeed the same character.

The scene shifts back to Earth and we check in with Shirley Stewart and Ellie. Ellies seems to be doing a good job of taking care of Shirley, but as we find out she’s been isolating John’s mother, which could be doing more harm than good. Johnson does a good job of showing both sides of the debate, with Ellie wants to shield Shirley from her condition to provide comfort at the expense of having to face the reality of her position. Meanwhile Shepherd and the Irons have concern that Shirley’s dementia is impacting other systems in her body beside her mind, and Ellie’s illusions prevent Shirley from getting medical care. It’s a delicate situation and one I’m grateful I haven’t had to live through myself, but I can most certainly relate to the harsh decisions that have to be made and I’m not sure how I’d handle it myself.

Ellie and the Irons have conflicting opinions on how to care for Shirley Stewart.

We also see that the Revenant Queen is watching the situation unfold with Shirley in a scene which very much looks like some ominous foreshadowing. It looks like Guy Gardner will be getting some more panel time in this series in addition to being in a backup story in the next three issues of Green Lantern. Shepherd needs some help to find out where John went, and it looks like Guy is just the lantern to help out. It’s good to see Johnson noting that relationship between Guy and John, and I think it’s a great way to give Guy a bit of a spotlight. I also think that seeing Guy interact with Shepherd has some great potential and could add some levity to the series.

Getting back to John, we find that he’s trapped wherever he is, and as the issue comes to a close we see what Byla refers to as “a war between Gods, fought by mortals.” A fearsome army emerges from the Dark Star of the Fenn, accompanied by the promise of the coming of Star Shroud.

John attempts to enter the Dark Star of the Fenn.

Johnson is doing a great job of balancing the cosmic storytelling with the human drama, something a lesser writer would struggle more with. But Johnson makes it look easy. Montos is an equal part of what makes this a great series, himself deftly moving between the human story and the cosmic world building. He accomplished storytelling has done such a fantastic job of supported the weight of Johnson’s script, and this issue is no exception. Their partnership on this series has made it what it is, and that in my opinion is the best work ever done with John.

Green Lantern: War Journal #7 is another great issue of the series, slowing the pace down a bit in order to get a few pieces of the puzzle ready for what’s to come. Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Montos are doing great work here, which I hope is getting recognized by comic readers. Eight out of ten lanterns.

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