Hailing from 30th-century Earth, Sussa Paka was an instrumental part of a campaign by the planet Taltar to have a stronger influence on the United Planets. Sussa was specifically chosen from Earth and was expected to take part in a secretly planned scheme by the female aristocracy for a matriarchal coup. Scientists on Taltar had given Sussa the ability to grow her hair at will to considerable lengths and have complete control over it, now able to manipulate it as a weapon. The daring Sussa decided to take matters into her own hands, wanting to find out more interesting things to do with men than fight. Sussa assumed the identity of Spider-Girl and applied for membership with the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Spider-Girl was created in 1963 by writer Jerry Siegel (the co-creator of Superman) and artist John Forte, after a fan wrote in to the Legion letters page suggesting a character with the power of prehensile hair. She appeared as a Legion hopeful several issues later. Though she bore a strong resemblance to Marvel Comics' Medusa, whose primary attribute is also prehensile hair, Spider-Girl is actually the earlier character, appearing a year prior to Medusa's debut in 1965.
Sussa messed up the demonstration of her power and got little sympathy from Legion founder Saturn Girl, who was presiding over the tryout. Rejected, she disappeared for a time. She was recruited into a growing Legion of Super-Villains under Tarik the Mute, seeking revenge against the heroes who rejected her. Sussa and her team were ultimately defeated. When the LSV reformed under Nemesis Kid, Spider-Girl joined back up but was once again defeated and shipped off to Takron-Galtos prison planet. When the planet was destroyed, Spider-Girl apparently escaped.
Five Years Later
After the devastation caused by the Magic Wars, Legion history jumped ahead five years in what is now known as the Five Year Gap. Spider-Girl was still a rule-breaker and was taking odd jobs to get by as a thief. Her theft of a canister from EarthGov for the villain Starfinger caused her to be wanted by the Science Police, who attempted to hunt her down. While she fled, she met up with Bounty and Circe, who were attempting to infiltrate and destroy Dominator Pinnacle Command. The trio became trapped during the Dominator War on Earth and Sussa joined with them in executing the command. Following the war, Sussa parted ways with the others and made it off Earth before it exploded. Wanting to know just what was such a big deal in the canister before she handed it over, Sussa broke into Legion headquarters on Talus and asked them to assist her in opening the unbreakable canister.
On Earth-247, Spider-Girl had the same abilities as the original, but her reformed persona from the end of original continuity continued in reboot reality. She was a member of Leland McCauley's Workforce and in a romantic relationship with teammate Ultra Boy. She became bitter when Ultra Boy began to have feelings for the Legionnaire Apparition (Tinya Wazzo, Ultra Boy's girlfriend in original continuity), and ultimately Spider-Girl lost Ultra Boy to Tinya. This didn't discourage Spider-Girl for long, who flirted with new member Radion while continuing to be one of the more ruthless and morally questionable members of the Workforce. Alongside teammate Evolvo, Spider-Girl was the only Workforcer to stay with the team until she was fired for being underage.
Retroboot: New Earth
Infinite Crisis restored a close approximation of the original Legion (prior to Five Year Gap) to continuity. Spider-Girl was once again a villain and her appearance changed significantly: She now had greyish-white hair and pale skin, and wore a revealing web-patterned black outfit similar to her original costume. She joined with Earth-Man and other Earth-born villains to become a new Justice League of Earth. They staged a coup and spread xenophobia, turning Earth into an alien-fearing world and assuming duties as planetary protectors and heroes over the Legion. The Legion and Superman rebelled against the xenophobia, ultimately defeating Spider-Girl and the others. When the Legion of Super-Villains regrouped under Superboy-Prime, Spider-Girl and her former teammates from various villain groups joined to assault the Legion.
Major Story Arcs
Five Years Later
A New Look
Though the Legion was unable to open the canister she had stolen, Sussa made herself at home in their headquarters and began following the Legionnaires around, specifically Ultra Boy. She aided the Legion as an unofficial ally in their battle against Mordru and was labeled a traitor to the United Planets with the Legion when they were framed by Universo. Spider-Girl went underground with the Legion, changing her codename to Wave and adopting a new look by dying her hair blue, becoming as official a Legionnaire as she could be. She maintained a crush on Ultra Boy, but put his heart before her own by encouraging him to enter the time stream and search for his presumed-dead wife, Tinya. Sussa, as Wave, served with the team after the Legionnaires cleared their names. Unfortunately, Zero Hour occurred shortly thereafter and Wave and her entire reality vanished.
Powers & Abilities
Spider-Girl possesses extremely long and super-strong prehensile hair, which she wields like countless extra appendages. She can use her hair as a means of locomotion, climbing about much like a spider, and in battle she uses her hair to ensnare or bind her opponents, much like a spider's webs.
In original continuity Spider-Girl's initial hair color was strawberry blonde, though it grew more reddish in later appearances. After she reformed and changed her code name to Wave, she dyed her hair blue. In reboot (Earth-247) continuity, her hair was bright red. In current (retroboot) continuity, Spider-Girl's hair is now greyish-white.
Legion of Super-Heroes Animated Series
When the Legion of the Super Heroes were fighting a giant space squid, a group of Meta-Humans appeared and defeated the squid monster. Wave aka Spidergirl was one of these metahumans. Lightning Lass was very impressed with them and wanted to be their friends until he later figured out that they were doing things that were morally wrong to him. Wave still has the same power from her comic book counterpart, prehensile hair.