Originally Posted by StarvingArtist
I hear ya and I agree. I don't really know too much about what the comics nowadays say is the relationship between superman and the suit and whether its an iron man-ish kind of thing like you say. I can get into the idea that the suit is impervious and that it could protect a human, I actually really love that idea... but an impervious sci fi suit doesn't have to look like armor plating. It's lazy and it takes away from the mystique surrounding superman's invulnerability on a visual level. I have similar opinions regarding batman's suit looking too much like swat gear.
I really wouldn't think much of it if it weren't for all the people who talk about the change being to avoid legal problems due to the lawsuit, how Superman can't have trunks or be invulnerable now because the Siegel estate own the rights to those aspects of Superman.
Within the context of the first story arc of Action Comics, the purpose of the suit is clear. Superman's power levels at the time were like the original who could be hurt by explosions and couldn't fly, and Metallo and Brainiac were too much for him to handle, so he needed the armor suit to give him an edge. But we never really find out how much more powerful he gets between the past and the present, or even when he first learned to fly. Since the Brainiac arc ended,there's been a Smallville-level of ambiguity about whether or not he's flying or jumping gracefully, making me wonder if the suit also gives him the ability to fly.