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The Evolution of Why Abin Sur Was 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, we look at the evolution of why Abin Sur crashed in a spaceship when Green Lanterns fly through space fine without spaceships.

Reader Joe L. wrote in about an old column I did a couple of years ago about why Abin Sur flew in a spaceship, which then crashed. Alan Moore came up with an explanation, not knowing that he was retconning a much earlier (and much less famous) explanation. Joe noted that Geoff Johns then came up with his own version of it, as well.

So let's take a look!

In Showcase #22 (by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella), we first met Abin Sur...

Now, obviously, the idea is that when Broome came up with the idea for this new version of Green Lantern (likely developed with editor Julius Schwartz), he did not yet have a clear idea in his mind as to the whole deal with the Green Lantern Corps and how the ring worked, etc. In the early issues, it was clear that Broome was making stuff up as he went along. Thus, there was nothing in Broome's initial idea that suggested that a person with a Green Lantern ring could travel in space, so of COURSE the guy was flying in a spaceship. That's what you do in outer space.

Then, though, they revealed that Hal Jordan COULD fly in outer space with just his ring. So now the spaceship was a bit of an oddity. Interestingly enough, it was an oddity that was actually resolved in the pages of 1962's "Green Lantern" #16. It was in a back-up story by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. It turned out that Hal simply asked his ring to tell him more about Abin Sur and he learned the truth, that Abin Sur had captured a group of energy beings and the energy beings were able to control people's minds. One of them escaped and, sure enough, it took control of the heroic Green Lantern's mind and things went poorly from there...

More than two decades later, the more famous version of the story was revealed by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2. In the story, Abin Sur was forced to go on a rescue mission on the dark planet of Ysmault. While there, some demons messed with Abin Sur's head. They gave him a prophecy of his death...

They then tell Abin Sur more prophecies. As he left, Abin Sur presumed that they were lying to him to screw with him, but they left just enough actual doubt for it to not go well for him once again....

That story by Moore and O'Neill was a huge influence on Geoff Johns, but in the years since, other developments had taken place, most famously the revelation that there was an entity known as Parallax which was responsible for the yellow impurity in Green Lantern rings. Parallax possessed Hal Jordan eventually and made him turn evil.

However, in his new take on the origin of Green Lantern, Geoff Johns revealed that Parallax played a role in Abin Sur's demise, as well...

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