Amazing article and converstion!
I always felt there were two main hero archetypes, typically, that of "The Champion" and "The Avenger". The Champion is chosen by some extraordinary circumstance to affect the world around him/her. The Avenger, affected by the world around him/her, usually a tragedy, chooses to change it. Superman and Batman fit these roles rather nicely. But, you can almost go down the line and pick out which heroes belong in which camp, Champion or Avenger. Some are a bit of both. Spider-man is a good example of a hero being first "chosen" and then "chooses" after the death of his Uncle Ben.
The Champion and Avenger's stories reflect this with the Champion's stories dealing more with external world-changing dilemmas and The Avenger's dealing more with crises of conscience and an internal struggle. You can also look at their respective rogues galleries which illustrate these conflicts, i.e... Lex Luthor, Brainiac vs. Joker, Catwoman.