There are, approximately, 78 billion incredibly-named New Gods in the realm of Jack Kirby’s iconic DC Comics cosmos known as the Fourth World.
Of those fabulously named beings, however, one handful you should absolutely get to know is the Female Furies — the deadliest warriors dread Darkseid’s army has to offer.
First introduced in the pages of the original Mister Miracle series in 1972 as part of Big Barda’s backstory, the Furies are an all-women group of generals that are meant to be the very best of Darkseid’s warriors. They’re an elite strikeforce forged under the nightmarish torture of the evil Granny Goodness, the matron of Apokolips’ Terror Orphanages (I told you basically everything Fourth World-related has an incredible name, right?).
Survivors of Granny’s “care”, the Furies are, for the most part, some of Darkseid’s most loyal agents.
But beyond their relationship to Big Barda, the Furies haven’t really had much of a spotlight themselves over the years. That’s all about to change, however, with today’s arrival of Female Furies #1, by Cecil Castellucci and Adriana Melo.
Despite their being around for nearly 50 years, it marks the first time the team has ever headlined their own series — so to celebrate (and explain just why you should be excited, because there is a ton of intriguing potential with these characters!), here’s what you need to know about the core members of the team.
Granny is technically not a member of the Furies—but without Granny, there would be no furies in the first place. A member of the Darkseid Elite (Darkseid’s immediate subordinates and council in ruling Apokolips and its domains), Granny was originally a “lowly”, one of the peasant class on Apokolips that, alongside races conquered by Darkseid’s’ forces, are treated as brutal slaves in the ceaseless war effort.
After being handpicked to receive special training and fostering depraved cruelty, Darkseid himself elevated Granny to the master trainer of his forces, mixing horrifying torture with advanced brainwashing techniques to break even the most enduring prisoners and reforge them as loyal servants of herself and Darkseid.
Granny’s training led to her creating her elite task force of female warriors, the cream of the crop — the Female Furies — and appointed them a leader in the mighty soldier Big Barda...which, we’ll get to that later. First, meet the rest of the team!
The sister of Desaad, one of Darkseid’s closest advisors, Bernadeth is often seen as the co-leader of the team (when the team isn’t trying to tear each other apart over who the real leader is), and was one of the first Furies recruited by Granny.
After Barda permanently left the team, Bernadeth was skipped over for leadership in favour of Lashina, who she then promptly attempted to betray, leading to a dust-up with the Suicide Squad.
Aside from the general immortality and cosmic super strength all New Gods have, and her training in combat under Granny, Bernadeth’s big deal is that she wields a Fahren-Knife — a fabled knife gifted to her by Desaad that’s literally made out of Darkseid’s skin. The knife is an incredibly powerful weapon, capable of even felling a New God, that burns victims from the inside out. Fun!
We recently discussed Lashina’s history with the Suicide Squad speculating about who could come to the movie sequel The Suicide Squad — but yes, she gets betrayed by Bernadeth on a mission to Earth at one point and decides to basically use the Suicide Squad as a sneaky way to get back to Apokolips for revenge.
Which ends up going...extremely poorly, with several squad members dead, Bernadeth murdered (and promptly resurrected by Darkseid), and Lashina getting a faceful of Omega Beams for her trouble.
Lashina is eventually resurrected and rejoins the Furies, sharing team management duties with Bernadeth to stop the two from being at each other’s throats. Oh, and in terms of special weapons that Lashina brings to the table? Hazard a wild guess. (Spoiler: It’s electrified whips.)
Aside from looking like an extremely rad biker lady clad in blinding shades of yellow, Stompa is one of the most loyal members of the founding Furies. Although she’s not had as much of a spotlight as some of the other members of the team, she makes up for it with a frankly hilarious weapon: her mighty leg strength, enhanced by a pair of antimatter boots.
Yes. Stompa stomps her enemies to death. Because of course she does.
Another relatively minor player despite being a Fury stalwart, Mad Harriet’s mind was broken by the suffering she endured under Granny’s rule in the Terror Orphanages, hence the nickname. Relying more on her agility and a wild combat style than the raw strength her fellow furies commanded, Mad Harriet summons energy-based “power-spikes” out of her hands to attack with.
And so, we come to Barda — who might be the Fury you’re most familiar with already, mainly down to the fact that she’s not really a Fury anymore.
Barda was once the team’s leader, wielding a mighty Mega-Rod (that could open up teleportation Boom Tubes to fling her around the battlefield, and shoot blasts of cosmic energies) into battle while wearing a special suit of Apokoliptan armour that enhanced her near-invulnerability and super strength even further.
But during a raid, she had a chance encounter with Scott Free—the son of Highfather, the ruler of Apokolips’ ceaseless rivals in all things cosmic war New Genesis.
Scott was traded as part of a peace deal between the worlds, to be raised by Darkseid on Apokolips — while Darkseid’s child, Orion, is sent to New Genesis to be raised by Highfather. Barda finds herself drawn to Scott, and eventually a romance flourishes, leading to them working together to hatch a plan to escape Apokolips and flee to Earth.
Initially, Barda stays behind to ensure Scott can escape but eventually manages to convince the rest of the Furies to come with her and leave Apokolips for Earth. Barda builds a life with Scott on Earth where he becomes the hero-slash-escape-artist Mister Miracle, and for a time, even the rest of the Furies join the happy couple on their showbiz tours.
But when Barda decides to marry him and stay on Earth, the rest of the Furies returned to Apokolips to face their punishment for defection — which was to immediately go back to earth and attempt to capture or kill Barda and Scott for the crime of escaping Granny’s clutches.
It’s...a complicated relationship. Barda has fought her fellow Furies and worked alongside them many times over the years, playing on her past with the group often to get them to help her out in times of need.
Despite the fact they’ve all tried to kill each other multiple times, even as other members and even entire new generations of Furies have formed, there’s still a bond that’s persisted between Barda and her former teammates.