Argonautika, Jason

In his celebrated essay Short on Heroics, the classicist J.F. Carspecken states that Jason is chosen leader because his superior declines the honour, subordinate to his comrades, except once, in every trial of strength, skill or courage, a great warrior only with the help of magical charms, jealous of honour but incapable of asserting it, passive in the face of crisis, timid and confused before trouble, tearful at insult, easily despondent, gracefully treacherous in his dealings with the love-sick Medea.
Such a reading of Jason’s character prompts one to question just what a hero is.  We have seen several different examples of them throughout our reading, yet Apollonius Argonautica clearly challenges these pre-existing notions both of what heroic conduct is and how heroic character is revealed.  How then does the heroism of Jason stand in relationship to that of, say, Odysseus?  How does it stand to that of Heracles?  How do these different characters reveal their heroic character, and what might Apollonius be suggesting about his own times by his obviously deliberate challenge to these norms?