artist: Ivan Reis
Moreso than in Aquaman, Geoff does a good job of juggling ongoing arcs within Justice League itself, notably the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman. In #15 they talk about the concepts of secret identities, with Superman explaining what Clark Kent means to him, which also means Wonder Woman dons glasses in the New 52, as her civilian presence routinely did previously. It's a sequence you wish could play longer, even though there's a lot of superhero goodness that follows, big epic stuff that Justice League has been doing since the start, what I've called the monthly event book, though after the first arc of the series this is the only the second instance where the book actually feels like an event.
A lot of that is owed to artist Ivan Reis, who is a regular collaborator of Geoff's in his Green Lantern work, including Blackest Night. He knows exactly how to do big action, and these issues are almost worth it just to see him at work. If anyone could follow Jim Lee, it's definitely Reis.
An interesting undercurrent of the issues is also Cyborg's continuing arc. He's been a featured member of the League since the first issue, including his origin. Originally Cyborg was a founding member of Marv Wolfman's New Teen Titans thirty years ago. His graduation to the League was one of the biggest shifts in DC lore in the New 52, though Geoff has taken his time returning to him. These issues feature as has been the undercurrent of his role Cyborg's conflicted feelings about being a man with so much machinery, fearing that he's losing his humanity. Yet it's this concern that keeps him human. Otherwise he can be fairly functional in nature, providing tech support in most situations.
By the end of #16 he's made a huge personal decision as well as the call to bring in backup for the League, essentially acting as the voice of the team. Most of the other members tend to represent themselves first, and that's as much as it should be. Cyborg is there not only as the only member without his own book, but as the glue that keeps it together and the connection to the larger community. For the record, the faces seen on the last page are labeled Green Arrow (who previously failed to draft himself into the team), Shazam (who's the star of the backup feature and erstwhile Captain Marvel), Black Lightning, Hawkman, Black Canary, Firestorm, Vixen, Zatanna, Element Woman, and Goldrush.
Now, Firestorm just had his monthly book cancelled. It seems whenever that happens the editor is quick to say the character will live on in a team book, and this is most times a totally wasted reassurance, because these appearances tend to be meaningless. Geoff himself made good on this in Teen Titans when he redefined Bart Allen (formerly Impulse, since Kid Flash) and even Superboy, and Cyborg is all but another success in that regard. Time will tell if Firestorm joins those ranks.
Element Woman, meanwhile, is a new version of a character associated with Metamorpho, who made her first appearance, technically speaking, in Geoff's Flashpoint. Goldrush is an entirely new character, which is something that should happen in a Justice League book, especially one written by Geoff Johns. The others are all more or less established players in League lore. Vixen and Black Lightning are two characters who were elevated in previous revivals of the team, so it's good to see them back in the mix.
Shazam, meanwhile, continues in the backups with Geoff and Gary Frank. He and friend Freddy Freeman are still trying to exploit his powers for mischief, but Billy Batson is beginning to learn that there are certain responsibilities involved as well. He alienates Freddy when he claims he won't switch out of the Shazam form, but decides differently when Black Adam shows up and proves that it's after all not just fun and games. To escape his dark mirror, Billy switches back to being a kid. Black Adam was a signature element of 52, which Geoff wrote in conjunction with Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, and Greg Rucka. Chances are that future installments will reflect the character's more subtle features.