CREDITS: Written by Evan Dorkin (one of my favorite humor cartoonists, this Eisner winner has worked on Bill & Ted comics, Dark Horse Presents, Dork, The Eltingville Club, and Beasts of Burden) and Sarah Dyer (his spouse, creator of the Action Girl Newsletter and a comics writer in her own right); directed by Curt Geda.
REVIEW: It's the premiere and origin of Livewire, meant to be, right down to the high-pitched voice, the Superman cartoon's answer to Harley Quinn. And she's mostly a success. I say mostly, because I find her more interesting before she's bleached and weaponized by a lightning strike. As a (ooh, female) shock-jock polluting the airwaves with anti-Superman sentiment (just look at who owns the station, and smiles while listening to the show) and ambushing Lois in what should have been the Daily Planet's interview, she rocks. Though she sort of believes what she's saying, but as soon as the microphones are off, it's clear this is strictly business for her. There's a great sequence where Superman deals with extreme jeopardy, incidentally countering her unfair criticisms that kind of makes you wish Leslie Willis had been seeded into earlier episodes.
As a super-powered villain, her motivations are pretty basic - unwarranted revenge - and her power set makes her a simple energy blaster that can be overcome - no surprise - by being hit with water. I wish they'd done more with her ability to become all electronic media, as the sequence where she makes faces at the heroes on a fax machine is pretty keen. That's where her story should go next, as it's much more interesting than vengeful blasting.
Another character that makes an appearance in the episode is Bibbo, for the first time really showing fannish devotion to Superman. But there's no real origin to Superman being his fav'rit, and I wish we'd get to THAT episode already (if there is one, I can't rightly remember). Right now, he's an odd appendix to the supporting cast, merely a familiar face they haven't done anything with. There's a place for Bibbo in Superman's dynastic model, but he's just dangling on the periphery, aimless.
IN THE COMICS: Livewire was created for the show, but enjoyed enough popularity to make it into the comics (and very recently, into the Supergirl TV show). Her first mainstream DCU appearance was in Action Comics #835 (2006), though this Livewire was born with her powers and went after Superman when her radio station went country. In the New52, she's a vlogger who electrocuted herself during a stunt and became a foe of both Batgirl and Superman. She was not, however, DC's first Live Wire. The name was first used by the SW6, and then the Reboot, versions of Lightning Lad, making Leslie a precursor to the 30th-Century legacy (à la Brainiac/Brainiac 5).
SOUNDS LIKE: Livewire is voiced by Lori "Tank Girl" Petty. Leslie's producer, Sid Melkin, was played by Cam Clarke, better known as the voice of Leonardo and of Rocksteady on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Introducing a cool character somehow made less so once she gets powers, the episode nevertheless includes a stand-out scene.