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Teenagers from the Future: Essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes Paperback – November 28, 2011
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"Exhaustive... a must read for anyone who has ever visited the 30th century. Hell, I never knew I was this interesting!" -- Keith Giffen
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The target audience is definitely for knowledgeable fans of the LSH. Those unfamiliar with the LSH would probably not know about many of the characters and stories detailed.
"Teenagers from the Future" contains a number of interesting articles concerning various aspects of the Legion, from the original and somewhat innocent stories from the late 50s through the 21st-century reboots that have radically altered the Legion and played havoc with finely-crafted continuity. You'll find essays on everything from the Legion's scientific foundations ("The Legion's Super-Science" by James Kakalios) to the introduction of homosexual Legionnaires ("Coming Out of Future Closets: Gender Identity and Homosexuality in the Legion" by Alan Williams).
Everyone has their favorite Legion eras (mine are the Mike Grell and early Keith Giffen runs), along with a certain level of angst about some of the creative paths taken over the years. I'm kind of thankful that I got out of buying monthly comics right as the Legion's popularity peaked with the "Great Darkness Saga" back in the early 80s, as some of the subsequent changes would have been disconcerting to me. A prime example is the Five-Year Gap, discussed in "Revisionism, Radical Experimentation, and Dystopia in Giffen's Legion" by Julian Darius. One wonders if George R. R. Martin abandoned a similar plan for his Fire and Ice saga after seeing the fallout from this one.
At any rate, it was great fun revisiting old Legion/comic collecting memories (haven't heard the term "Baxter editions" for ages) and getting up to speed on the revamps I missed (Shvaughn/Sean? Didn't see *that* one coming). "Teenagers from the Future" is must reading for anyone who fell in love with any version of the Legion of Super-Heroes and still reserves a special place of fandom for them in his or her heart.
Ultimately though, this was a particularly interesting read for a comic-book newbie like me, introducing me to the various eras of comic books, various styles of the publications and artists, and of course to a fun gang of heroic teenagers!