Abin Sur is best known as the predecessor of Hal Jordan, one of the greatest Green Lanterns of all time. For some this is all that is needed to know about the Green Lantern from Ungara.
They would be doing Abin Sur and themselves a great disservice.
A professor of history on his homeworld of Ungara, Abin Sur became the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 in the mid-1860's (Earth date). He was possessor of the ring after Waverly Sayre of Earth. Whether he was the direct successor of Sayre or not has never been revealed.
Sometime after getting the ring, Abin visited Ysmault, throneworld of the Empire of Tears. There to rescue a crashed Ungaran spaceship, he was offered assistance by the entombed demons. One of the demons, Qull of the Five Inversions, would give the answers to any three questions. The answers included the location of the survivor of the crash, Abin Sur's fate and the final fate of the Green Lantern Corps (involving Sodam Yat). Although Abin Sur wouldn’t realize it, one of the answers caused him to doubt his ring's ability and himself.
The story of Abin Sur and the Empire of Tears was told many years later to the MadGod Sector 3600 by Sinestro. With this tale, and the hundreds more before it, Sinestro wished to show the imprisoned sector that the Guardians and their Green Lantern Corps were fallible. The containment of the Oan sciencell could easily be overcome by something as powerful as 3600. This was the 1001st tale. Sinestro was successful.
During a patrol of a remote area of his space sector, Abin Sur discovered the planet Athmoora had been held back in its technological development by a group of energy beings called Larifars.
The Larifars would steal a substance called the "I-Factor" from humanoid races. The I-Factor enables beings to gain knowledge and conceive of new ideas. Lacking this substance, development comes to a standstill. The Green Lantern tracked the Larifars to the planet Pendara, where he captured them in a globe of green energy. Unknown to Abin Sur, one of the Larifars was still at large. Balzona of the Larifars had been scouting other planets for humanoid races. It returned to find its' fellow energy creatures imprisoned, and set out to find Abin Sur.
On Ungara, Balzona gained control of Abin Sur as he lay sleeping, his ring not charged, and commanded the Green Lantern to free the Larifars. The energy being did not fully understand the workings of the power ring, and believed Abin Sur would conserve power by taking a spaceship back to Pendara. Abin Sur brought his power battery, which was invisible to the Larifar. Once on the spaceship, Balzona believed the Green Lantern was trapped and it left Abin Sur's body. Traveling through a radiation belt, the Larifar was distracted and Abin Sur could charge his ring.
Balzona attempted to take over Abin Sur's body again, but the Green Lantern fought back. The energy creature used telekinesis to battle Abin Sur, and the ship's interior was damaged during the fight. Abin Sur finally managed to capture Balzona, and sent it to join the other Larifars imprisoned in Pendara's orbit.
During the course of the battle, Abin Sur was wounded. The Green Lantern was forced to land on Earth to recover. His ship landed in the year 1873. Abin Sur chose Daniel Young, a sheriff in Bailysville, Montana, as a temporary Green Lantern. Perhaps recalling the prophesy of Qull of the Five Inversions, regarding his ring losing power in deep space, Abin Sur continued to use the spacecraft to travel the stars.
Years later, the Guardians sent Abin Sur to a world dominated by a sinister sorcerer, Myrwhydden. The sorcerer would cast spells in rhyme to battle the Green Lantern. Defeating Myrwhydden, Abin Sur reduced him to submicroscopic size. Abin Sur dropped him inside his power ring, into a world created by the Green Lantern's will. Years after Abin Sur's death, the mage would escape to battle the next ring wielder.
In 1928, the Guardians ordered Abin Sur to capture Earth criminal Al Magone, who they considered a potential threat to the galaxy. Magone was placed on the Guardians' Prison Planet, a world which held the prisoners in different time periods.
Abin Sur must have been keeping his eye on Earth, as the Guardians prohibited him from involvement in Earth's World War II.
On February 9th, 1942, the Space Age was still years away and Earth would find it difficult to protect itself from menaces from other worlds. Green Lantern Abin Sur encountered an advance scout for a possible invasion from Earth's sister planet, Venus.
Unbeknownst to humans, the second world from the sun supported life. Underneath Venus' hellish atmosphere of thick, sulphuric acid clouds lived at least two alien civilizations. Green Lantern concerned himself with one of the species, a race of intelligent worms with psionic powers, including possession and telekinesis. One such worm made its way to Earth wearing a biologically engineered suit of massive strength. Abin Sur encountered the worm in the Alaskan tundra where it was fighting the Golden Age heroes Bulletman and Starman.
Abin Sur trapped the massive creature in a power ring generated sphere. He then reached into the construct's torso and removed the worm by hand. The Green Lantern contained the worm in a small, ring generated sphere and turned his attention on the terran heroes. A power ring sweep wiped their memories of the event.
Bulletman and Starman awaited U.S. officials who took away the bio-engineered body. To this day the heroes have no recollection of the alien Green Lantern's involvement.
In 1944, Dask N'oir escaped from an Oan Sciencell with a cache of forbidden weaponry. Abin Sur was sent to prevent Dask from selling the weaponry and prevent the discovery of any extraterrestrial evidence.
Arriving in France, Dask N'oir defeated Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern) and Jay Garrick (the Golden Age Flash), rendering them unconscious. Abin Sur caught up with the mercenary, only to be the victim of a weapon which covered his power ring in gold, nullifying it. The Green Lantern of Ungara was powerless, and he was easily beaten by his foe. Dask N'oir then took Abin Sur's power ring.
Reviving, Abin Sur was surprised to see a power ring on Alan Scott's hand. Testing the ring, he realized there were different properties involved, most importantly, the ring had power over yellow. Abin Sur took Alan Scott’s ring, and quickly tracked Dask N'oir.
In battle, Dask N'oir attempted to use the same weapon he had used previously on Abin Sur. The weapon was useless against Alan Scott's ring. This secret advantage helped the Ungaran Green Lantern defeat Dask N'oir. With the fugitive captured and Alan Scott’s ring returned, Abin Sur wiped away the memories of Dask N'oir, and then left Earth. He would not return for many years.
In the early 1950's, the Guardians of the Universe decided that a member of the Green Lantern Corps must be established on Earth to act as its' protector. They were concerned about Earth's entry into the nuclear age, and believed humans had not yet proven themselves to be responsible with so much power. Possibly unknown to Abin Sur, the Guardians attempted to recruit Donna Parker, a schoolteacher and widowed mother from Nebraska. Parker turned down the Guardians' offer, believing her children must come first.
At some point in his life, Abin Sur met and befriended a man named Kristogar Velo. The details of this meeting have yet to be revealed. Abin Sur was a great inspiration to Kristogar Velo that he adopted the name Green Lantern in honor of his friend. In later years, Velo would settle on the planet Fae’en as the champion of its people.
In the last adventure recorded by his power ring, Abin Sur was pursued and attacked by Legion. The creature had killed three Green Lanterns in its' quest to Oa, and was about to add Abin Sur to the list. Legion's superior strength and energy blasts badly injured Abin Sur, and damaged his starship. The Green Lantern managed to expel Legion through an open airlock, out into space.
Through the ring, Abin Sur ordered the ship to the nearest inhabited world of the H-type. As he made his way to the controls, the ship hit a yellow radiation belt, blinding him. Abin Sur crash landed on Earth, in the Sierra Madres mountain range. Dying, his ring fulfilled its last function: to find a worthy successor, a man totally without fear.
The specific orders given to the power ring should be noted. First, Abin Sur wished his successsor to be a man. Whether this choice was because of the Demons of Ysmault's influence or Abin Sur's prior experiences working with Earth men such as Waverly Sayre, Daniel Young and Alan Scott, or supposed prejudicial orders from the Guardians is unknown.
The emerald energies circled the planet, selecting numerous candidates, until a worthy successor was brought to the crash site. That successor was reporter Clark Kent. The ring recognized him as a Kryptonian, since Abin Sur required a native of Earth he rejected the reporter. Clark Kent was returned to Metropolis, his mind wiped of all knowledge of the incident.
The ring kept narrowing the possibilities until it was between two candidates, Hal Jordan of Coast City, California and Guy Gardner of Baltimore, Maryland. The mentally deteriorating effects of his injuries did not allow Abin Sur much more time. Due to his proximity to the crash site, Hal Jordan was chosen.
Hal Jordan was a test pilot for Ferris Aircraft, a man with a minimal amount of fears. Attempting to comply with Abin Sur's second instruction to find a man who was totally without fear, the ring rearranged Jordan's psychic profile to eliminate all fear. This command would override the "fight or flight" response that motivates basic self-preservation in humans. The mental alteration would not be discovered by Jordan for many years, when he would undo its' effects.
Still in pursuit of Green Lantern, Legion tracked the Ungaran to the crash site. Legion was furious that Abin Sur had died and passed the power ring to someone else. The creature then targeted the new ring wielder, Hal Jordan. Legion's rampage would continue until it was finally defeated on Oa.
The death of Abin Sur affected many across the universe, including his fellow Green Lanterns Tomar-Re of Xudar, Eddore of Tront, and Salakk of Slyggia. Abin Sur's homeworld would learn of his death years later.
Hal Jordan would visit Abin Sur's homeworld twice, each time under difficult circumstances.
The first time, Jordan was sent to divert a comet that was on a collision course with Ungara. Jordan had sought to warn the populace of the threat, but was greeted with mistrust. Word of Abin Sur's death had not yet reached Ungara, and Jordan was considered the murderer of their champion. The Ungarans mistakenly believed Jordan was the renegade Green Lantern Sinestro. Finally recognizing the threat of the comet, the Ungarans apologized for their attack. After the comet was deflected, Jordan made a monument to Abin Sur for the people of Ungara.
Not surprisingly, even death's touch could not still Abin Sur. Years after his death, Abin Sur would still prove himself a hero.
In the last battle in the war against Krona and Nekron, Lord of the Unliving, the Green Lantern Corps fought the armies of the undead. Realizing they would soon be overwhelmed, Hal Jordan crossed a dimensional rift into Nekron's domain. There, Jordan rallied the souls of dead Green Lanterns to overthrow their would-be master.
The Green Lantern of Earth's efforts helped turn the tide of battle. The dimensional warp closing, threatening to trap Jordan forever in the realm of the undead, until he was aided by a familiar voice. The soul of Abin Sur pushed Hal Jordan through the tear in space.
On Ungara, the news of Abin Sur's death fragmented their society. Civil war led to the creation of the plasma satellite, a weapon meant to rain havoc over the enemy states. One side tried to defuse the satellite, but instead detonated it. Ungara was thrown off its axis by less than one hundreth of a degree. More than one hundred million Ungarans perished in the resulting quakes. Tidal waves drowned three of Ungara's continents, with no survivors. Finally, the planet settled into its new orbit.
The Ungarans sent out a military expedition to Earth to seize Hal Jordan's aid. Forcing the Green Lantern did not work, he had problems on Earth and did not know of the Ungarans' plight. Jordan was later ordered by the Guardians to assist the people of Abin Sur's homeworld. He was unable to move the planet back to its original orbit. Jordan then tried breaking the ice and utilizing molten lava. These plans also failed.
The arrival and subsequent action of Arisia of Graxos IV is credited for the solution. The two Green Lanterns polished a crystalline moon to act as a lens to focus the Ungaran sun. Now the world would be in a perpetual spring.
In the afterworlds of Earth, Abin Sur enjoyed the company of another deceased
In the so-called War of the Gods, the sorceress Circe struck at the Earth spirit Gaea and set the Roman and Greek pantheons against each other. She garnered the attention of Earth's super-heroes and turned the dead against them. The rotting corpses of Katma Tui-Stewart and Abin Sur attacked Guy Gardner before Circe's strength was ultimately broken.
As a result of the chronal disturbances of Zero Hour, Abin Sur was pulled into the present for a short time. He joined a group of Darkstars who were in a battle with the manifestation of Entropy. Abin Sur was returned to his original timeline.
Abin Sur is memorialized in the Crypts of the Green Lantern Corps on Oa.