Thinking about how we see him, when we means the readers of the stories, or the characters within the DCU. Oftentimes I find that Superman is looked down upon in regular society. People think that he is uncool, he's just a big blue boy scout. They think there is nothing tough, or hard or scary about him. Of course, Supes shouldn't be scary like Batman is. In my mind he should be approachable and friendly, yet capable and resolved. He shouldn't panic, he should always be heroic, and he should be utterly unselfish. Yet sometimes, you get an idea of the danger he could be, if he wasn't fundamentally Clark Kent.
Anyway, I recently read Morrison's JLA run, and to be honest wasn't that blown away by it. It startedgettign interesting around about issue 18, but on the whole it's not really much when compared to Mark Waid's run, for example.
By issue #7 we'd met Zauriel, a fallen angel. Some of the other angels weren't too happy about Zauriel's decision to 'wear mortal flesh' so they come to earth to kill him. The JLA intervene. Superman in particualr intervenes. Leading Flash (Wally West) to exclaim as follows:
And that panel to me encapsulates so many things. The DCU's attitude to Superman. His view of himself. His capabilities. His willingness to stand up for what is right. His unflinching committment to protecting us humans and those weaker than himself, even when he's experiencing self doubt.
Superman is hope for a better world and inspires us to be the best we can. He is a symbol and he's an incredibly strong symbol. That's why people wear the S shield. That's why I like him so much.