You know, I actually thought you were interested in a conversation, but, like always, every point you make boils down to wanting Superman be TeH Awesomest!
Which is not what anyone here is talking about at all.
Superman is special because of his actions, which are guided by his humanity, not because he is "more awezome" than his peers.
You put him next to Green Lantern, and when there is a choice of who you want to protect you, you go to Superman. I guarantee to you, 9 of 10 people will make that choice.
But not because he is the most awezum, but because he is a protector, he is a guardian, he would literally throw his life away, as he DID against Doomsday, to protect the people around him.
Hal is still cocky. he is still at times an idiot.
Superman will -always- try better.
We need to be careful. There is a danger of wanting Superman to be the way he always has been. To just be the icon. And in the process to forget that he still needs to be an interesting character you can actually write interesting stories about. The classic Superman persona can be so 'perfect' that it makes this job harder than it is with other characters.
This is amusing, considering "character" usually boils down to "Power" with you.
There is nothing that holds Superman back from being an interesting character beyond the skill of the writer at the helm.
Was Superman a boring character under Morrison's pen?
I DARE you, I double dare you to tell me he was not immensely compelling, even in his Nu-52 shape, which was the only time I cared about Nu-him.
So I didn't mind that the New 52 made some big changes. I don't think Lois is an essential element to Superman. I like what they are doing with Superman and his family now, but that could get boring in time. Changing those things up can be good. In fact, I think it's typically boring as hell when a superhero story is just about the one superhero and his non-powered supporting cast. It's the interactions of superheroes that I find compelling.
Yeah, two things.
What the hell is wrong with you?
And what are you even talking about?
Superman's -human- supporting cast never really was the focus of his stories, and they never needed to be. They give him a contrast to the fantastical world he lives in. When he just smashed a dark god down, they helped to ground him. When there was a problem he couldn't figure out, he went home to his parents, sat with them, ate apple pie, and told them his concerns. That didn't make him 'weak', or 'boring'. That made him -human-.
This is the part you don't get. You NEVER did.
I find it funny that you caution against Superman being a simple icon, when he's never anything but a walking projection of a power fantasy for you.
He needed Lois in his life, because when he needed humanity around him, when he was done walking with GODS and creatures from beyond the universe. It helped remind him that, for all of his powers, he was like everyone else. He never considered himself special, which, incidentally -made- him special.
For all of his power, Superman was a humble, nice guy from Kansas, who just tried to make life a little better for everyone else, because he -cares-.
But the New 52 forgot one thing that IS central to Superman and the DCU: even without any powers, Superman is--as a person--one of the most impressive characters in the DCU. The reason that Superman and Batman are the core of the DCU is that Batman recognizes in Clark an equal--at the end of the day, his only equal. And it isn't about the powers. It's about the competence at what he does, the dedication, the raw intellect (though often portrayed as unrefined--that can be ok), and the inspirational goodness of Superman the MAN.
There we go again.
It's all about quantifiably being "better".
You are literally incapable of thinking outside of these terms, when it's the furthest away from how Superman ever would think of himself.
You know what made Superman special?
It wasn't that he is super-intelligent. He is.
It wasn't that Batman looked at him as equal (which he never did for the reasons you listed up).
It was that, even in the worst of battle, when he could decide between defeating his opponent, and saving a kid that is threatened by debris falling on it, he would go for the kid. He would catch the debris, would smile at the child, and things would be alright.
Batman loves Kal like a brother, and considers him his best friend -because- of that.
Because for all of Superman's powers, the only thing that matters to him is people.
In fact, I'm pretty fucking sure that Superman is the only person Batman thinks is better than he is, because while he is human, he is also terribly flawed. He is tempted.
Superman, he knows, will -always- do the right thing.
That is why he considers Superman his equal.
In the New 52, Superman rarely felt special beyond being the most powerful person on the planet. This lack was amplified by the fact that in many ways he was the only hero who had lost his essential mojo with the resetting of the DCU back to a time when heroes were younger and less experienced. Batman was still as competent as he'd ever been. Wonder Woman as well. Ditto for many others. It was just Supes that seemed to have lost his way.
And why may that be?
Think about it.
Why was it that all the other characters still felt like they always did?
I mean, fucking hell, you spelled it out, and you -still- don't see it.
It's because Nu-52 Superman had been stripped of all the things that made him special.
He was replaced with a punk who could punch stuff hard, but had zero personality.
All the things that defined him as the most grand, the most oustanding hero was GONE!
People feared him!
He had no connection to humanity anymore.
He had no fucking support cast, really.
You know how funny it is that Post-Crisis Superman ended up ten times as relatable to the normal person than Nu-52 Superman? think about that.
And get off on beyond "They didn't show him being speshul enough".
The only thing they needed to do with him was making him the guardian everyone wants him to be, instead of 1995 random X-men who was hated by the world, and played Linkin Park music while fucking a goddess on the side.
Nu-52 ended up a wet teenage fanboy's dream. Being super powerful, having no parents to tell him what to do, and fucking the prom (goddess) queen.