Casey and Aucoin play with the original concept of Superman in Adventures of Superman 612 (March 2003).
The story opens with Major Victory having been de-chromatized by the Hollow Men. This plot thread will continue over the next few issues. I guess this must be a new Major Victory, as the previous one died in Eclipso almost a decade earlier, but if so, this is his first appearance.
The story then cuts to a scene hugely reminiscent of Superman’s very first story, from Action 1, as he stops the execution of an innocent man. The scene re-uses some of the names and locations, but is otherwise quite different. Superman is not clearly seen in this sequence, and his chest symbol is different, more like the original.
There are more scenes like this, with what appears to be Superman acting much more aggressively, and far more concerned with righting the social ills, with no time for the police.
But as this is all going on, Clark Kent is interviewing a writer, Benjamin Conrad, about a new book of his, Champion of the Oppressed. It is based on early accounts of Superman, but he changed the character to be more activist and aggressive. Conrad admits that his character has somehow come to life.
Things are getting hairy for the Champion, who cannot be killed by any conventional means. The military keep upping their weaponry, and Superman convinces Conrad that no good can come of this, no matter what his intent. Conrad deletes his book, and the Champion disappears. The whole story plays really well on the nostalgia it is based on.
And there is a great kicker at the end, as we discover that the Hollow Men were also from a book Conrad wrote.