I'm not against any of the above it it serves a legitimate thematic purpose... er, excuse me a moment... Hmmmmm...
Oh, all right! We all know it can't! It's absurd overkill! Damn...
The hero is dead.
I quit! I can't draw any more!
No, wait. That's not right. Heh. Just another hallucination. The hero lives! Whew! Believe me, I scared me more than I scared you!
What should scare us all is that an industry with such creative potential as ours is plagued by speculators and hucksters who sneer at the notion that graphic storytelling is an art form, who cynically reject any values beyond the purely economic. Many vapidly believe that the artistic cream is defined by market success!
Desperate clutching at booty results in brutish themes and a dwindling number of real heroes. Fast and easy market share is found in violent, cynical anti-heroes wallowing in gore because it's easier to dream small than to dream big.
Actors, writers, artists, and fans find villains fun. But many heroes are now emulating villains! It's easier and more fun to play games in which snarling, monumental egos fight with huge killing machines in their hands than to examine our own motives thoughtfully. Without heroism, we don't care if the beaten "scumbag" at our feet is a true villain or not, it's only virtual reality, another movie, or "just a comic book!"
Without heroism, there's no motivation for profound self-examination, the mark of true art. Pseudo-sophisticated anti-hero cynicism masks fear of the pain of adult responsibility. It's cheap, easy escapism, the mark of pop-culture trash. We don't deserve the technology of mass-media if we don't heroically struggle to live up to its higher potential! Don't we have a responsibility to the culture beyond economic success? Do we want a world full of selfish adult children? That's what a world without heroism would be like!
Greed motivated pop-culture is largely raising our young. And while "greed is capital, my good man" may be true to some extent (we all gotta live), it can be disastrous when obsessive. Short-sighted economic forces create systemic censorship of profundity when we really need to air controversies more thoughtfully. We need meaning over market, substance over image.
Presenting deeply shocking and disturbing images as art takes heroic efforts. Forget economic success! If it comes, it's cakefrosting. Hero-less play-violence may be fun, but it's a small dream. Heroism is more difficult: a big dream.
All truly dynamic stories are intrinsically difficult character-driven inner conflicts of self-examinations, including super-hero stories. Their "secret identities", for example, can be metaphors for our own secret inner lives, where we battle personal demons (as viscerally as artistic license allows) to maintain our true identities, connected to each other and the cosmos in moral unity.
If too many too often declare "no contest" in this moral realm, allowing to go unchallenged the notion that bigger and badder is always better, this dog-eat-dog, forget the Joneses, berseker attitude will remain the true Darkseid or Doomsday of today. Consider it an artistic challenge, a call to heroic duty, an opportunity to teach and inspire as well as entertain.
But will it sell?
Make it sell.