Originally Posted by Kurosawa
It's also proactive things that he would do-smashing up slums and forcing the Government to build better housing, destroying car plants that made unsafe vehicles, making a gun runner go and fight in the war that he was encouraging and profiteering from...not all legal, but all just, at least to him.
"Not legal, but just." That right there is what is wrong with that approach with Superman. The early Superman stories pretty much worked under that banner. Superman didn't take no guff and didn't afraid of anything. He tore down a slum and fought the army because he felt like it. That's not what someone with Superman's power should do. If a guy who can't be killed begins making his own laws, even if its for the public good at the time, that's the beginnings of a dangerous and slippery slope.
I have a theory about the two big comic book universes. DC's population loves and trusts their heroes, while Marvel is fearful of them. Why is that? Because DC started off with Superman, a guy who upheld the law and didn't wear a mask, who fought for truth and justice and the American way, who started off as Superboy and earned his place in the public's hearts. Marvel, meanwhile, had the Human Torch, an android who could kill you by standing next to you and Namor, a psychotic Atlantean prince with the world's worst temper. That's the difference. Superman earns people's trust. That's what he has to do. And in order to do that, he has to be hard, but he also has to work strictly within the limits of the law. That's why post-Crisis Lex gets away with so much. Superman knows how bad he is, but so long as Lex works the legal system in the way he knows how to, Superman can't touch him. That's the Superman that earned the public's trust. He's the guy who would gladly let Lex go free rather than turn into what Lex thinks he is: someone who wants to impose his own morality on the world.