All this month, SYFY FANGRRLS is celebrating Warrior Women Month, sharing the stories of female warriors in folklore, fantasy, and genre from around the world. These women — real and imagined alike — inspire us to make change and fight for what's right, no matter the cost.
Big Barda was raised in the pits of hell on Apokolips. Being the type of legend she is, she became one of the greatest warriors in that world. She served as the leader of Darkseid’s personal guard, the Female Furies. There is no denying how masterful of a warrior Barda is with the resume to prove it; however, it's not just her brute strength, tactical skills, or the mental fortitude that make her one of the fiercest warriors to emerge from Granny Goodness’s Home for the Orphaned Youth — it's Barda’s heart.
The daughter of Big Breeda, Barda was taken from her mother and trained as a warrior for Darkseid’s army. Her battle ability did not go unnoticed, and she was appointed by Granny Goodness to lead the Female Furies. It was while with the Furies that she met Scott Free for the first time. Their meeting wasn’t at all romantic, but their first encounter subsequently led to Big Barda helping Scott to escape from Apokolips. After witnessing the punishment of a group of rebels, which also included a young woman, Auralie, who was under the leadership of Barda, she felt deep regret. Barda could have just dismissed the loss of Auralie and the brutal punishment of the rebels as a causality of war, but her empathy surfaced and resulted in her helping Scott to escape to Earth.
Barda stayed, but what had happened to Auralie unearthed emotions she'd never experienced before. With her loyalty to Darkseid weakened, Barda ended up leaving Apokolips for Earth to find Scott. In Big Barda fashion she saved Scott, who was under attack by Doctor Bedlam. Thankfully, Scott knew a real one when he saw her and Barda’s feelings for him did not go unrequited. They eventually fell in love and married.
Barda might have become Barda Free, but that didn’t at all change the fact that she was still Big Barda. She and Scott tried to live as close to a normal life as they could but were constantly interrupted by strange visitors, circumstances, and situations involving denizens from the superhero community, New Genesis, and Apokolips. Each and every time, Barda was ready to deliver the fade in between intimate moments with her husband — even going in on Scott when Batman and the Justice League were taking away from their quality time. Barda is all bark and a lot of bite, but those on her good side got to enjoy her loving nature. She's a woman who is ready to fight whoever, whenever, when it comes to those she cares about.
Perhaps one of the biggest showings of Barda’s ability to love and express herself outside of kicking ass despite her hellish upbringing is from Tom King’s run of Mister Miracle. The series begins with Scott trying to commit suicide. Barda is the one to find him bleeding out on the floor and get him to the hospital.
Throughout the series, the couple continues their go at trying to balance domestic life along with never-ending interruptions from yet another ongoing war. It’s in this series that Barda is possibly at her most vulnerable. Barda and Scott have their first child and even childbirth is a momentous task for the former leader of Darkseid’s personal army. She becomes a mom and a warrior, which honestly could be interchangeable at times. Barda’s ability to love her son and to switch from fighting in a war to fulfilling her motherly duties is nothing short of amazing — while also dealing with the reality that her husband tried to kill himself.
In a moment shortly before their son’s first birthday, Barda and Scott finally acknowledge the situation and Barda finally speaks her truth. She’s frustrated with being the one that doesn’t get to escape like her husband and voices her irritation with feeling like she is the one to take care of him. It's unfortunate that it took this conversation for Scott to see how much he’d hurt her while trying to deal with his own baggage, but Barda’s vulnerability was needed. Barda could have shut down, but her concern for their child took precedence. That’s what good moms do.
Big Barda isn’t a one-dimensional warrior. It's not all war and bloodshed with her. She’s fully realized. She’s a warrior first, always, and then a mom and wife. The way she’s allowed herself to experience love and happiness despite her background is a statement in itself. Her ability to do this is what makes her one of the most formidable warriors to come out of Apokolips.