“It’s not his powers, it’s not his costume, it’s not his heritage. It’s that, unlike his myriad counterparts, he has more faith is us than we have in ourselves […] that faith elevates and redeems the human race.
Notice how the men and women of Superman’s world, from Perry White to Jimmy Olsen to even the loutish Steve Lombard, have so clearly been fortified with Superman’s courage and reverence for truth and life. And most important, watch how Superman achieves his ultimate victory - not with a swing of his invulnerable first but with a gift of understanding. In every fight, Superman punches when he must and grapples when he has to, but at the end of every battle, he wins his best and most decisive victories when he allows his foes to see their world - our world - through his eyes.
When Superman, without a second’s hesitation, takes time from his world-building feats to embrace and comfort a suicidal young girl. When he tells her, “you’re much stronger than you think you are”, they become the most moving words we have ever read in Superman history. And they are perfect because they reveal, in one sentence, the fundamental secret of Superman and why we love him so:
Gods achieve their power by encouraging us to believe in them.
Superman achieves his power by believing in us.”
Mark Waid, 2008