Abin Sur of the Comic Books
In the comics, Abin Sur looks less like a human being without any skin – as he does in the film – and more like Sinestro with alopecia. Which is to say, he’s just a bald, magenta-hued humanoid alien. As for his backstory, for simplicity’s sake, we’re just going to go with the most recent version of Abin Sur as told in Secret Origin, because recounting his pre and post-crisis comic backstories in detail seems a waste of word space.
Briefly, though – prior to Secret Origin, Abin’s death resulted from an attack by the alien Legion. Fans who have followed the production of the Green Lantern film since its inception will remember that Legion was the main villain in one of the earlier iterations of the screenplay, but was obviously replaced by Parallax in the final draft.
Regarding Secret Origin – in attempting to bring Atrocitus to justice (a terrorist who would later become the leader of the Red Lantern Corps, which utilizes the red energy of rage), Abin Sur was gravely wounded and his ship was rendered incapable of landing safely. Rather than allow it to crash on its own, which would’ve killed thousands of innocents in Coast City, Abin piloted it as well as possible to a nearby desert. Due to both Atrocitus’ attack and the resulting crash-landing, Abin Sur, of course, died, but not before bequeathing his power ring to the Earthman Hal Jordan.
Abin Sur in the Movie
There’s very little creative breadth between the Abin Sur of the comic books and the Abin Sur in the film, muscle-skin notwithstanding. In fact, Abin Sur is one of the more accurately-adapted elements of the film, if not the best best preserved element of page-to-screen translation.
Instead of being attacked by Legion or Atrocitus in the film, Abin Sur is attacked by Parallax and infected with his yellow fear juice, which apparently results in a quick but excruciating demise. Strangely, this is the only time Parallax does this to anybody in the film. The yellow fear juice infection isn’t explained. It’s not expanded upon. A guy gets sprayed with some fear juice once, dies, and that’s that, green lantern shield notwithstanding. Apparently, there just wasn’t enough delicious fear juice to go around…
That’s basically where the differences between the comics and the film end. After being mortally wounded by Parallax’s lemonade, Abin Sur crash-lands in a swamp (not a dessert) near Coast City before bequeathing his power ring to the brash young Hal Jordan and dying soon after.
Advantage: The Comic Books – because there’s not even an inkling of fear juice in them (but we kind of liked Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur).