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Flashpoint: Abin Sur – The Green Lantern #1 – Review

By: Adam Schlagman (writer), Felipe Massafera (artist), Rod Reis (colorist)

The Story: I’m starting to feel, Abin, that you may not be the greatest space pilot ever.

The Review: Like the Guardians of the Universe, Abin Sur, former Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (dang, that’s a lot of capitals in one sentence), has been a fabled part of the GL mythos since it remade itself in the Silver Age.  And like the Guardians, we actually know very little of the man beyond the legend.  In many ways, we know even less since there have been few opportunities to see him in action.  It’s no one’s fault; he is, after all, dead.

Well, that situation is clearly rectified in the Flashpoint universe, so this seems a perfect chance to delve into what kind of hero Abin would’ve been had he lived.  Unfortunately, Schlagman offers a very simplistic, though admittedly effective, portrayal of the famous Lantern.  Over and over he emphasizes the preciousness of life, often to the point of irritating preachiness, and not always to characters who can listen, like a Manhunter’s severed head.

The problem with this narrow characterization is that it doesn’t do much to elaborate on Abin’s personality, particularly where he distinguishes himself from fellow Lanterns.  After all, the entire corps is sworn to protect life, so Abin’s near-religious devotion to that ideal doesn’t really set him apart in any special way, except for when he defies the Guardians’ orders to “Let Earth die.”  But even then, it feels like there are a lot of other Lanterns who’d do the same.

The whole key to Abin’s personality seems to lie in his relationship with his sister, but we don’t really get to see much of them together except for the predictably sentimental intro.  Obviously, Arin Sur’s murder is the major turning point in Abin’s life; he even claims that if he had saved her, “Maybe everything could have been different.”  How saving her life could have saved the life of their home planet, as he believes, should probably be delved into more later.

Schlagman gets a little too ambitious, as he incorporates Blackest Night, the Manhunters, and even a separate quest involving Sinestro’s search for the Flashpoint prophecy into the plot.  All of these threads have plenty of potential for interest, but we only get brief tastes of the conflicts they seem a bit wasted, especially since Abin, for all his drivel about protecting life, can’t be bothered to engage more fully in repelling Nekron, bringer of death.

You can’t even work up much excitement for the dramatic events at the end of the issue, since most of them are foregone conclusions.  Even though Abin’s heading for a major crash, we know from Flashpoint #1 that he reappears later for Cyborg’s last-ditch roll call.  And whatever info Sinestro’s about to get out of Atrocitus on the prophecy of the Flashpoint, it’s unlikely to make much difference on the event itself, and seems a distraction to this series’ story arc.

Massafera’s heavily painted style makes for some very lovely art.  He goes for a hyper-realistic look that downright poaches the upcoming Green Lantern film as a model for all the character and world designs, which is not a bad choice.  It not only distinguishes this reality from the one we’re used to, he also sells it as a very convincing aesthetic for comics.

Conclusion: If you’re looking for an illuminating glimpse into one of the most mysterious Green Lanterns of all, this title doesn’t really give you that, but you still get a mildly engaging premise for his one chance in the limelight.

Grade: B-

- Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: - Atrocitus always seems to be in-the-know on the major events of the DCU, doesn’t he?  Would be rather irritating to hang around him with his smug, toothy grin, I expect.

- Abin: “Ring, if I perish, choose someone worthy to save this world—”  Ring: “No problem, man—especially since I’m programmed to do that anyway.”

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