I think I would like him, not to be necessarily the strongest per see, but the best. One thing that I miss about Superman from the Silver Age is not so much how strong he was, but how crazy he was with the use of his powers. He would spin real fast to deviate lasers by creating interferences, move his hands against the Daily Planet globe super fast to make it a giant magnet, burn things with his heat vision to blind his opponent.....he has a creativity about the use of his powers he pretty lost around Byrne's Man of Steel, where his fighting style was pretty much "keep punching until it breaks".
I'm actually fine with Superman not being the strongest or the fastest(I mean, he's just a physiological anomaly, there's no real argument one way or the other). Space is infinite, and there should be thousands of creatures that should be able to go toe to toe with the dude. But when it comes down to fighting, he should be a tough cookie, even against people theorically more powerful than him. Because, unlike most superheroes, he was born with his powers. Maybe not all of them, but he was born with powers from the start, which gives him and edge over other people, because they are a complete part of himself. So, yeah, he can be as "weak" as they want, as long as they make him a tough, determinate, and most importantly, inventive fighter, I'm fine with that.I wouldn't say I'm a big fan of Superman, but I have enjoyed my share of Superman-related stuff. Everything from some landmark Superman stories (All-Star Superman, Superman: The Nail, What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and The American Way, etc.) to Superman: The Animated Series (It's my favourite animated series) to Superman Returns the movie.
My personal preference when it comes to Superman is:
He's not the strongest (I think someone other than Superman being stronger is ok with me), he's not the fastest (it should be NO contest between Flash and him) or the most powerful (Green Lantern, in my opinion)...but he should be the best and most impressive of all heroes. Meaning, that no one should ever think they'll just breeze through a fight with Superman. He should be someone that people would be nervous about crossing or even contemplating. He should be the most intelligent fighter.
I like that he's so good with his powers, that people are just in awe when he goes into action. He should be the one guy who uses all his powers to the optimum level, in such a way that impresses everyone. Just as an example, I thought of a great Superman sequence:
A missle hits a tower and the top half of it is crumbling. Superman uses his super speed to start calculating. He knows that he can't use his strength to grab it, as it will crumble. So he starts looking for alternative methods of holding the object together while keeping it from falling on civilians.
He quickly dives into a nearby body of water, causing a splash so large that it displaces 120 metric ton of water. He uses the splash to quickly exit the water and starts to spin around in a circle so fast, with a spin that causes the water to move up through the air and he guides his spin towards the falling tower. He envelopes the object with water and quickly flies away from the spin and uses his freeze-breath to envelope the body in a sheet of ice, as thick as 1 meter.
He quickly grabs the coated object and guides it to a safe place. All of this happens so fast that it looks as though the tower was hit and instantly turned to ice and was grabbed by Superman.
There's probably a lot of lousy physics in there, but I thought it would be cool to see something like that.
You know I'm fine with this sort of interpretation. Not the strongest in any given area, but his multitude of powers and creativeness make him elite. Though I also like the idea of him getting stronger as he ages as Mr.Holmes said.