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Why Was Abin Sur Flying a Spaceship in the First Place?

by  in Comics, Comic News Comment
Why Was Abin Sur Flying a Spaceship in the First Place?

In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

Today, my buddy Keith M. wrote in with an interesting question that had fascinated readers for years until the great Alan Moore “solved” it in the mid-1980s. However, Moore likely didn’t know that it had already been solved decades earlier! Read on to learn the mystery of why Abin Sur was flying a spaceship in the first place when he gave Hal Jordan the Green Lantern ring.

As I figure most of you know by now (I quickly checked with my wife to see if she knew Hal Jordan’s origin, as I was curious if it really was as famous as I thought it was – she got it mostly right. She knew it was something involving an alien, a spaceship and a crash), in Hal Jordan’s first appearance in “Showcase” #22 (by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella), we met the previous Green Lantern of Sector 2814, Abin Sur, who gave the Green Lantern ring to Hal before he died. He explained how he came to be in this terrible state…

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Over twenty years later, in “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual” #2, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill did a story set in the past where Abin Sur was forced to go on a rescue mission on the dark planet of Ysmault. While there, the demons who were stuck on the planet (trapped there by the Guardians) messed with Abin Sur’s head. They gave him a prophecy of his death…

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They then tell Abin Sur more prophecies (these would later be used by the writers of the “Green Lantern” titles post-Rebirth). As he left, Abin Sur presumed that they were lying to him to screw with him, but they left just enough actual doubt….

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What a dark and clever ending. Wonderful work by Moore and O’Neill.

That story is a famous one and, as I noted before, has been cited regularly since by other “Green Lantern” writers.

Here’s the thing, though – there already was an explanation to the mystery of Abin Sur’s spaceship!!

In 1962’s “Green Lantern” #16, Gardner Fox (who always liked to explain stuff) wrote a back-up story (drawn by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson) that explained why Abin Sur was in a spaceship (as it turned out, as soon as he learned that the power ring could tell him information, Hal asked it about what happened to Abin Sur). As it turned out, Sur had captured a group of energy beings who were able to control people’s minds. However, one of them escaped.

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It tracked down Abin Sur and took control of his mind…

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That was certainly a bizarre way to explain why Abin Sur took a spaceship, and don’t get me wrong, I like Moore’s story better than Fox’s, but it is interesting to note that Moore’s story was (accidentally, I’m sure, as I doubt Moore knew the Fox story even existed) a retcon of the Fox story.

Thanks to Keith for the great suggestion! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future Abandoned an’ Forsaked, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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