Big Barda is a fictional superheroine (although sometimes portrayed as a villain) appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. She first appeared in Mister Miracle #4 (October 1971), and was created by Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby based Barda's physical appearance on Lainie Kazan, who had recently appeared topless in Playboy. Mark Evanier, Kirby's assistant on the Fourth World comics, has stated, "Jack based some of his characters (not all) on people in his life or in the news... the characterization between Scott 'Mister Miracle' Free and Barda was based largely—though with tongue in cheek—on the interplay between Kirby and his wife Roz." In 2011, Big Barda was ranked 75th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
Art by Stephane Roux.
|First appearance||Mister Miracle #4 (October 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer - artist)|
|Alter ego||Barda Free|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||New Gods|
Birds of Prey
Barda is a member of the race known as the New Gods, and was born on Apokolips about 250 years ago. Her mother was Big Breeda, whom Barda was taken away from at an early age to be trained as a warrior at Granny Goodness' Home for Orphaned Youth. Granny grooms Barda to one day lead the Female Fury Battalion, a ferocious pack of warrior women. However, during a raid, Barda meets Scott Free, Darkseid's adopted son, and, sensing a peace about him, falls in love.
Barda risks her own safety to work with the rebel cell led by the New God Himon. This comes directly after the murder of most of Himon's cell by the local authority, Wonderful Williki. This includes one of Barda's people, Auralie, who is tortured to death for dancing, a crime on Apokolips. Moments later, Himon kills Willik with a bomb. Barda, her Furies, Himon and Metron help Scott escape Apokolips. Darkseid himself calls for Scott to return but doesn't actually stop him, as Scott's escape can reignite his war with New Genesis. Barda, not emotionally prepared to escape herself, stays behind. Eventually, Barda turns her back on Granny Goodness and comes to Earth. Once there, she finds that Scott has taken up the mantel of the escape artist Thaddeus Brown, AKA Mister Miracle, and has teamed with his diminutive manager Oberon. Oberon and Barda become close friends. For a while, Barda's Furies assist Scott in his showmanship efforts but they return to Apokolips by themselves. Scott and Barda are married by Scott's birth father, the Highfather of New Genesis.
For a number of years Barda follows Scott and Oberon on tour. Eventually they retire from superheroing and move to Bailey, New Hampshire. However, despite their best attempts, a normal life eludes them. Disasters plague them and eventually Barda, Scott, and Oberon leave Bailey to move into a loft in Greenwich Village. Barda forms a defense-training program for women called the New Female Furies.
Though naïve regarding Earth customs, Barda relishes her roles of wife and housekeeper. However, when duty calls she never hesitates to assume the posture of a warrior; and when Scott joins the Justice League, Barda participates in several missions. In one instance, while training Fire, her weapon, the Mega-Rod, is stolen from her car. With the assistance of her husband and the Huntress, she gets it back, but not before many innocent people are killed by its wielder, who was unable to resist the corrupting influence of the Apokoliptian technology. Barda also led a JLA mission to rescue her husband after he was lost in space. The mission was a result of Manga Khan selling Scott to Granny Goodness. Her teammates included Martian Manhunter, Rocket Red, and G'nort. In an attempt to dissuade their successful pursuit, Manga Khan hired Lobo, paying him in dolphin feed, to kill them. He almost does, before Barda teleports him to a random location, that being ten feet behind Guy Gardner's skull. The repercussions of that literal meeting of the minds would last for years.
After their time with the JLI, the two leave Earth for New Genesis. However, they soon return and take up temporary residence aboard the Justice League Refuge. During this period, the couple separate briefly due to Scott's lack of consideration for her feelings. Barda perishes, but is reborn via Scott's temporary access to great cosmic power.
Barda has served as a member of the JLA in her own right as well. At Takion's order, she and fellow New God Orion were sent as agents of New Genesis to serve on the team. Takion predicted that the Earth faced a grave threat. Their mission is to help mobilize Earth's heroes against the omnipotent Mageddon. Over time, they become involved with several other JLA missions. Adam Strange, needing help with an alien invasion, enslaves the JLA as part of a bluff. The League works for days, turning the planet into a giant teleportation beam. The aliens are sent off to the prison planet of Takron-Galtos, which Barda had mentioned several times during the ordeal. In another instance, Barda is badly wounded fighting the Queen Bee, a member of the newly reformed Injustice League. Once Mageddon is defeated, Barda and Orion resign from the JLA.
Barda accompanies Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to Apokolips to rescue Supergirl from Darkseid's clutches, and accepts an invitation from Oracle to become the heavy-hitter on the Birds of Prey.
A similar-looking character named Little Barda appeared as a member of the Teen Titans in 52 #21; the character leaves the group in the same issue. Her relationship to Big Barda is unknown, though she escaped from Apokolips with Power Boy.
In a confrontation with the Secret Six, she engaged Knockout, another ex-Fury, in hand-to-hand combat. Although the fight is long and continues in the midst of other larger concerns for her team, it ends in a draw.
Big Barda is killed in the first issue of Death of the New Gods; her funeral occurs in the second issue of the series. Infinity-Man is later revealed as the killer. He had been slaughtering all the 'New Gods' in the name of restarting a new age of deities.
In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Universe), Big Barda and Scott are seen on Earth 2. They are later seen with many of the comrades in Supertown. Big Barda and Mister Miracle are recruited by Batman to assist Los Angeles when flooding sea waters threaten all coasts. 
Barda is a New God, a race of genetically-enhanced beings who evolved godly abilities from their proximity to the Source. This gives Barda a level of strength roughly parallel to Wonder Woman as well as a high resistance to injury approaching invulnerability. She is similarly resistant to disease and most toxins. As a former Female Fury trained by Granny Goodness, Barda is a master combatant in terms of swordsmanship and raw brawling, which - in conjunction with her raw strength and grit - make her an immediate match for Wonder Woman.
In combat, Barda wears Apokoliptian battle armor, which enhances her already impressive durability. In addition, Barda manages a high-tech weapon, called the "Mega-Rod". This weapon can create boom tubes for teleportation over long distances, propel her high into the air and release energy blast capable of bringing down such powerful beings as Superman. For a limited time the Mega-Rod can also increase the gravity force of an individual.
Barda appears in the limited series Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, which is set in an alternate future timeline of DC continuity. Orion has overthrown Darkseid and is the reluctant ruler of Apokolips. Barda (now sporting an eye-patch) and Scott Free work to teach the "lowlies" to think for themselves, with Orion's approval. The two have a daughter, Avia, who deploys a mega-rod and wears an outfit that combines elements of those of her parents.
In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again, as America descends into anarchy and chaos, a former porn star called Hot Gates (a reference to Miller's 300 comic) takes up the mantle of "Big Barda" in order to declare herself dictator of Columbus, Ohio.
Superman/Batman #24 depicts "Big Bard", the male version of Big Barda from a reverse gender universe, who is married to Miss Miracle.
In JLA: Another Nail, Barda becomes a Green Lantern Corps member, although her power ring having fused to her Mother Box has made her a rather unusual Green Lantern. Mister Miracle's consciousness also inhabits the ring and he can project himself as a spectral green figure.
Barda appears in DC's Batman Beyond comics that were loosely based on the animated series: Justice League Beyond and Superman Beyond: Man of Tomorrow, where, as in the animated series, she belongs to the Justice League during the tenure of Terry McGinnis as Batman. Justice League Beyond contains a separate section at the end titled "Beyond: Origins" that briefly summarized the origins of Warhawk (Chapter 1), Aquagirl (Chapter 2), and Barda (Chapter 3). Chapter 3 gives an origin story for Barda similar to her canonical mainstream comic book continuity storyline, but sets the events later so that in the Beyond universe she was born later and didn't join the Justice League until Superman had already visibly aged and begun wearing the black and white costume he sports in the Beyond stories.
In the DC Comics Bombshells continuity, "Big" Barda Free is a member of Amanda Waller's Bombshells project. She is also in a romantic relationship with Kimiyo Hoshi. Barda's backstory is later revealed in the Bombshells United follow-up, where it is shown that she was once a member of the Female Furies on Apokolips. While on a mission to find new worlds to conquer, Barda encountered Kimiyo and fell in love with her, which eventually led to her defecting and becoming one of Earth's protectors.
Barda also appears alongside a gender-bent version of Mr.Miracle in the comic book series Ame-Comi Girls.
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|Inhabitants of New Genesis|
|Inhabitants of Apokolips|
|In other media|
|In other media|