I can't believe that advance word hasn't leaked out to everyone yet (and the cover on the trade is spoiler enough), but, just in case: SPOILERS follow!!
Geoff Johns really isn't messing around; typically, dude has had large ideas concerning the Justice Society of America, and he trots out some more here. For one thing, the JSA team roster continues to expand as yet more characters are introduced. As a reader, I'd be normally worried about the deluge of team members, except that Johns has time and again proven that he has a gift for dense ensemble storytelling. JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA: THY KINGDOM COME (Part One) collects issues #7-12 of the new ongoing monthly series and is another excellent read, the centerpiece of which is the arrival of the Kingdom Come Superman.
The first two issues here are basically spotlight stories. #7 focuses on Nate Heywood and his unwilling debut as Citizen Steel. Nate has never wanted to assume the mantle of Commander Steel, preferring to make his mark as an athlete - that is, until his football career-ending injury. Now, Nate, whose run-in with Reichsmark of the Fourth Reich has left him with a body composed of organic steel, finds himself able to again walk, but with a loss of physical sensation and haphazard control of his sizably increased mass. Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific contrive a steel alloyed costume to help Nate gain a measure of control over his sudden super-strength, although Nate initially isn't too enthused with the look of the thing.
The next issue showcases Liberty Belle, and how she finally comes to terms with the powers passed on to her from her parents. Issue #9 starts out as a "day in the life" sort of episode as the Society hangs out with the New York Fire Departmment and the father-and-son Wildcats engage in a friendly exhibition bout for charity. Note the cool 2-paged splash of the JSA racing with the NYFD towards a crisis, the end result of which would usher in the Superman from the alternate Kingdom Come universe ("The Earth where the super-human society ran wild!)".
This older version of Superman seems so much more imposing than this world's Man of Steel, and more world-weary. He simply reeks of battle-tested experience and heartwrenching loss. He also has a severe emotional impact on Karen (Power Girl), who had just gone thru losing her last tie with her own universe, her cousin Kal-L, whom the Kingdom Come Supes closely resembles. Most of the JSA and the Justice League are understandibly wary, considering the hellacious events in Infinite Crisis, and Johns manages to do a job keeping this elder Kryptonian enigmatic and jaded, although not so jaded that he's lost all hope. He senses that, with this Justice Society having remained active and involved, perhaps the bleak future which devastated his own world might not befall this particular universe. Anyway, he has no choice but to stick around.
Further reading would unveil a shadowy killer, the Heartbreak Slayer, who is gruesomely murdering metahuman criminals who have passed themselves off as demi-gods. This rash of serial killing not only serves to debut the second new Mr. America but to also introduce the next major JSA story arc (see Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come Part II).
Other stuff that happens? The JSA's Legacy Files continue to supply new names for recruitment, including the offspring of Black Lightning and the descendants of Amazing-Man and even of FDR, who founded the JSA back in the day. An encounter with the new and virtually unhittable Judomaster, who'd run afoul of the police, leads the JSA to assume custody of her. There's also a welcome sighting of Jakeem and the thunderbolt, and their priceless reactions to the new members ("Who the -- are you?!").
In the JSA/JLA team-up (Justice League of America Vol. 2: The Lightning Saga), Power Girl became the Justice Society chairwoman. Here, she gets a chance to exercise her leadership skills, and while she doesn't strike me as dynamic, she does a passable job. Meanwhile, after the hectic Lightning Saga, this world's Superman drops in at the Sunshine Sanitarium to have a chat with his old friend, the amiable but unbalanced Starman. And, since it's Wednesday in the sanitarium cafeteria, the two get to catch up over Sloppy Joes. Starman, in Geoff Johns' hands, is a great loopy character and consistently provides the funny. I wish, though, that Maxine Hunkel had gotten more camera time.
Admittedly, for whatever reason (maybe co-penciller Fernando Pasarin?), the interior artwork isn't as tight as in Justice Society of America Vol. 1: The Next Age, although Dale Eaglesham is still mostly solid. However, at times, I noticed a cartoony style seeping into the artwork, which I don't believe is suitable for the JSA's look. Too, the Kingdom Come sequences strike a discordant note, as Alex Ross's smooth watercolors clash with the rougher pencil & ink work; the contrast is too huge. As a gimmick, I don't think this one worked too well as it tends to make one pine for even more of Ross's extraordinary paintings instead of enjoying Eaglesham's efforts - 's what happened to me, anyway. Ross's covers, by the way, persist in being spectacular.
What it boils down to is that JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA: THY KINGDOM COME (Part One) is an engrossing read. Many props to Geoff Johns, who narrates absorbing multiple story threads like it's the easiest thing to do. Dude also excels in lending relevance to his characters. As written by Johns, you can see why the Justice Society is so looked up to by the other heroes in DC. Yes, this is in part your granddaddy's comic book. And that's what makes it so good.