American writer and cartoonist Ngozi Ukazu will publish a YA graphic novel with DC Comics in June 2024. Titled Barda, the book explores the past life of Big Barda, the fierce soldier and leader of the Female Furies in the Fourth World saga.
In Jack Kirby’s famous Fourth World saga, Barda was the Female Furies’ leader after having been groomed for the position by one of Darkseid’s high-ranking soldiers Granny Goodness. However, Barda fell in love with escape artist Scott Free during a mission and defects to Earth to be with him. Since leaving Apokolips, Big Barda and her husband work together as crime-fighters on Earth and join the superhero team, the Justice League.
Ukazu’s upcoming graphic novel will focus on Big Barda’s past and motivations in depth beyond her association with the Female Furies. Barda is more about what drives her as an individual by looking at a crucial moment in her life: when Big Barda realized she could be more than just another soldier fighting for Darkseid’s cause.
The novel is set during her years in Apokolips serving under Darkseid and Granny Goodness, when Big Barda finds herself curious about the idea of love. Granny Goodness assigns her the duty of breaking the New God Scott Free to make her tough but it ends up having the opposite effect. Barda begins to question her present life of indoctrination and uses her strength to create a path of her own.
Ukazu explains the importance of highlighting Barda’s origin story:
Barda is a story of a very tough soldier who slowly realizes that her loyalties are more complicated than it seems. Barda is a great character because she is so complicated. She’s big, she’s mean, she’s tough. But on the inside, she’s very scared. But she’s a defender. The story calls her to be a bit more cruel than she actually is. And we start to see the tension. Does she like defending people or does she like causing pain? And she figures out who she is through the course of the story.
Ngozi Ukazu is an American writer and cartoonist born to Nigerian parents. She obtaining a degree in Computing and The Arts from Yale University and earned a masters degree in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Ukazu released her debut book Check, Please! as a webcomic in 2013. The comic was released as a trade paperback in 2018 and the sequel in 2020. She was the winner of the 2019 Ignatz Awards for Outstanding Comic.
Congrats to Ukazu on the upcoming graphic novel!