Around 250 years ago, on the hellish planet known as Apokolips, Big Breeda gave birth to a daughter whom she named Barda. The child was taken from Breeda at a very young age to be trained as a warrior in Darkseid's army. While she was still very young, Barda was sent to Granny Goodness' Home for Orphaned Youth, where she grew to be a beautiful, powerful young woman trained in combat and military tactician. Impressed with Barda's (now known as Big Barda) battle prowess, Granny Goodness selected her to become the leader of Darkseid's personal guard and most feared enforcers; the Female Furies.
Big Barda was created by writer/artist Jack Kirby in 1971 and made her debut in Mister Miracle vol. 1 #4. She was designed to be one of the most beautiful and powerful women in his pantheon of New Gods, as well as the primary love interest (and later wife) of Mister Miracle. The couple became one of the earliest examples of role reversal in mainstream comics, with Barda being clearly taller, stronger and more physically imposing than her own superhero husband and even acting as his protector. Barda's physical appearance was inspired by actress Lainie Kazan, who had appeared in Playboy magazine around that time, while her personality was based on that of Kirby's own wife, Roz.
Big Barda was bred and trained for battle and became one of the greatest warriors ever (possibly the greatest) in the history of Apokolips. She eventually won the the right to lead Darkseid's own personal guard, the Female Furies. It was during her association with the Furies that she first encountered the son of New Genesis' Highfather, Scott Free. A rebel leader on Apokolips named Himon had been secretly gathering children for special training for a planned overthrow of Darkseid's rule. One of these children was Auralie, whom was under Barda's command. Having noticed Auralie was missing, Barda and the Furies went looking for Auralie and found her with Scott. This first meeting between the future couple was brief and antagonistic. Himon's entire group of rebels was soon discovered and their members were brutally punished. Barda and Scott were both called in to witness the punishment. Horrified at the situation, Scott decided to he must escape from Apokolips. Barda, who regretted what had happened to Auralie, decided to help him. With Barda's help he managed to make it safely to Earth, but she elected to remain behind on Apokolips.
Major Story Arcs
Marriage to Mr. Miracle
Her dedication to Darkseid shaken by what happened to Auralie and experiencing emotions she'd never felt before - emotions stirred up by Scott Free - Barda eventually decided to leave Apokolips as well. She traveled to Earth to find Scott Free, who had now become the renowned escape artist known as Mr. Miracle. Scott was under attack by Doctor Bedlam when she arrived and she promptly came to his aid. It was then that she first became acquainted with Oberon, Mr. Miracle's manager. It turned out the attraction between Barda and Scott was mutual as Scott had also felt an emotional connection to her. Barda and Scott's feelings grew as they spent more time together, they fell in love with each other and they eventually were married at the end of Jack Kirby's run on the series.
After the wedding the couple briefly returned to New Genesis, but later settled on Earth with the intention of giving up both being superheroes and being show business performers for the purpose of living a normal life. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, this simple goal eluded them again and again. They were frequently bombarded by strange visitors,circumstances and situations involving deniens from the superhero community, New Genesis and Apokolips. They met, aided and or fought all manner of beings ranging from Highfather to Doctor Bedlam to Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Barda was arrested over trouble concerning animal rights groups, which turned out to part of a secret plot implemented by Darkseid. During her time in jail Scott was supposedly killed, though in fact it turned out that merely a robot version of him was destroyed.
The two eventually decided to move to New York City, a decision which pleased Oberon. He was less pleased by Scott's decision to stop being Mr. Miracle and train Shilo Norman to take his place. While living in the city, Barda became a professional female wrestler, with her stunning looks and fighting prowess soon sparking a fad known as "Bardamania." When she discovered that wrestling competitions were staged, she formed a team of fellow wrestlers and decided to train them to become the New Female Furies. Soon after, Big Breeda revealed to Barda that she was her mother.
Barda enjoyed life on Earth and took genuine delight in being a housewife and homemaker. However, she was still inherently a warrior of the New Gods and naive to many Earth customs. She often went about her household chores dressed in her battle armor, and usually managed to botch even simple meal preparation whenever she tried to cook. Scott was highly tolerant of her efforts and learned not to criticize her shortcomings as a housewife, lest he suffer her wrath.
Despite her determination to be a happy homemaker, Barda's warrior instincts meant that she would still readily take up her weapons if called upon to fight. She frequently assisted the Justice League International after Scott joined the team, and later joined the team herself.
Barda's first mission with the JLI involved an attempted rescue of her husband, who was kidnapped and taken back to Apokolips. She was partnered with J'onn, G'nort, and Rocket Red, a colorful but bumbling trio whom she quickly grew impatient with. When the galactic assassin Lobo was hired to kill them, she dispatched him with her Mega-Rod, accidentally transporting him to Earth. The group managed to successfully rescue Mr. Miracle, though they had to call in the rest of the Justice League International for help.
Barda then befriended her JLI teammate Fire, who at the time was having difficulties using her flame-based powers. Barda offered to train Fire in order to help her reach her full potential. During their first training session, Barda's car and the powerful Mega-Rod that she had left inside were stolen. Barda, Scott, Fire, and the Huntress combined their efforts to retrieve the weapon, which would be devastatingly dangerous in the wrong hands. Fortunately they were successful, and it was revealed that the Mega-Rod corrupted bearers with a weak mind and took control over them.
Barda left Earth with Scott after their time with the Justice League and resided briefly on New Genesis. But they soon returned to Earth and took up residence in the Justice League Refuge. At this time, Barda left Scott because she felt that he had no consideration for her feelings. She went off to spar with Wonder Woman on Themyscira, before deciding to give Scott another chance and returning to him. They both moved back to New Genesis after became it combined with Apokolips.
Later, Barda left New Genesis with Orion in order to join the Justice League of America. They were the agents representing New Genesis for the JLA's battle with Mageddon and left the group after the villain was defeated.
Scott and Barda then moved to the suburbs of Connecticut, where they were living when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman sought Barda's help in rescuing Supergirl from Apokolips where she was being brain washed after being abducted by Darkseid.
Birds of Prey
Barda later accepted Oracle's invitation to join the Birds of Prey as their "heavy hitter." During this time she befriended Black Canary's adopted daughter, Sin, and from this friendship gained quite an affinity for the Pokemon trading card game, which she decided was a "warrior's game." Barda also engaged in several missions with the Birds of Prey, including one where she battled fellow ex-Fury Knockout. Their fight ended in a draw.
Barda's time as a Birds of Prey member ended with her shocking death at the hands of the mysterious God-Killer. Her body was discovered by her husband Scott in their own kitchen, where she had just returned from grocery shopping. Many other New Gods also were killed during the events leading up to Final Crisis, including Knockout and even Mister Miracle himself. Barda's killer was later revealed to be the Infinity Man.
In the last issue of Final Crisis, Barda was seen standing alongside fellow New Gods Lightray and Highfather in front of a reincarnated New Genesis, indicating that Barda's death may not have been permanent.
Big Barda appears in the Gotham City of Earth 2 along with Mr. Miracle, who has escaped from Steppenwolf a year previously and is in hiding.
Powers and Abilities
As a member of the New Gods, Big Barda has many formidable powers and abilities. She is one of the strongest women in the DC Universe and can easily lift well over 100 tons under normal conditions, putting her in Wonder Woman's strength class. She is also a master of most forms of combat, her skill level such that she is able to fight Wonder Woman to a draw. Barda's durability is such that she is virtually indestructible and partially bullet proof. As a member of the immortal race known as the New Gods, Barda is also immortal, having physically stopped aging in the youthful prime of her life.
Barda is able to summon Aero-disks, which allow her to fly, and in battle she wears distinctive blue Apokaliptian armor which enhances her durability to even greater levels. Her main weapon is the Mega-Rod, a high-tech device that fires extremely powerful concussive blasts. Barda can use the Mega-Rod to teleport herself or others to any desired location, and it also gives her the ability to manipulate gravitational fields.
- Height: 7' 0" (originally 6' 2")
- Weight: 197 lbs (90 kg)
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Black
In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again, a version of Big Barda was a porn star named Hot Gates, who put on a costume and declared herself dictator of Columbus, Ohio. This Big Barda had no known connection to the New Gods, though she apparently was inspired by them.
In Justice League: The Nail, Big Barda became a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Her green power ring was fused to her Mother Box, making her a rather unusual Green Lantern. Mr. Miracle's consciousness also inhabited the ring and he could project himself from it as a spectral green figure.
In Superman: The Dark Side , an alternate universe where Superman was raised by Darkseid, Big Barda never escaped Apokolips and instead became a servant of Superman. In Mark Waid's Kingdom Come, where Orion overthrew Darkseid and became the ruler of Apokolips, Barda (now sporting an eye-patch) and Scott Free worked to teach the 'lowies' to think for themselves, with Orion's approval. The two had a daughter, Avia, who also used a mega-rod and wore an outfit that combined elements of both of her parents.
In Superman/Batman #24, Barda is instead depicted as Big Bard, the male version of Big Barda from a reverse gender universe, who was married to Miss Miracle.
In JLA: Created Equal, Big Barda was one of the female superheroes who helped the Justice League after a mysterious plague known as The Fall wiped out all men on Earth. She was only seen briefly.
Big Barda was seen in " Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl." Big Barda also appeared in Superman & Batman: Generations , which detailed many alternate histories of DC's two primary heroes.
- Superman: The Animated Series (1998)
Big Barda made a cameo in the second part of the two-part episode called Apokolips... Now! She was seen among the assembled warriors of the New Gods wearing her trademark battle armor.
The episodes The Call, Part One & Two depicted Barda as a member of the Justice League later in life. No mention was made of Mister Miracle. In these appearances Barda wore her red bikini uniform exclusively, rather than her blue battle armor.
- Justice League Unlimited (2005)
The episode The Ties That Bind featured Barda and her husband Mister Miracle on a mission to rescue Oberon. She was shown both in full armor and the red bikini uniform that she wears underneath her armor.
- Batman: Brave and the Bold (2009)
In the episode Last Bat On Earth!, Barda made a cameo appearance as Mister Miracle's wife.
- Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
In this direct-to-video animated feature, Big Barda joined Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman when they traveled to Apokolips in search of Superman's cousin, Kara. Once on Apokolips, Big Barda and Wonder Woman face Granny Goodness and fight the Female Furies together.