The Darth Vader Comics from Marvel has given fans a lot of information about the character’s life events between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, revealing what made him the right-hand guy of Emperor Palpatine. The latest story, “Burning Seas,” documents the Sith Lord’s efforts to suppress the Mon Calamari resistance and bring the planet under the rule of the Galactic Empire again.
However, courtesy the resistance provided by Admiral Ackbar and a secretive Jedi Order headed by the enigmatic Ferren Barr, his endeavors are not succeeding as per plans. Vader is ultimately able to spot Master Barr and his pupils, and things take a turn in Darth Vader #16 when the Empire starts murdering the Jedi pupils, but, we also find out that this school of Barr had a dark origin, identical to the Sith.
After he discovers that Vader is headed his way, Barr’s squad retreats, because they were not yet fully trained fighters. Unfortunately, Vader’s underwater kill-squad was waiting for them, and they are taken out one by one. As his important students are killed, flashbacks are shown revealing how they were recruited courtesy Barr’s dark process of selection. Vader destroys Nipaltoo’s underwater helmet and gives him a watery grave, the flashback of his recruitment by Barr is shown, but, it is revealed that it was under the pretext of avenging his dead sister, a Jedi trainee who was murdered. What’s even more uncomfortable is how Barr seems to be coercing him using a Jedi mind-method (mental persuasion) to make him join his ranks.
When Vader’s ships blast another student named Orvek, his flashback revealed how Barr manipulated his dislike for the Empire who had forced people out of their homes. Orvek was also taken over by a mind-trick. The flashback upon the death of a young couple Stell and Rebb shows that Barr enticed them by offering their lives a “purpose.” By this time, it was clear that Barr wasn’t training Jedi because none of the recruits had any Force sensitivity. On the contrary, Barr was creating a cult, exploiting their desire for revenge and convincing them that this was the way to create a better galaxy, even though his methods are pretty much Sith.
Barr’s intent is exposed when Vader goes out to find the king of Mon Cala, Lee-Char, and tasks his Inquisitors to find the rogue Jedi and his surviving pupils named Daren (someone in awe of the heroics of the young Anakin Skywalker), and the strong-headed Verla (whose origins are not known). After murdering Daren, the Inquisitors go for the final assault and find that Barr surprisingly threw his lightsaber away. He confessed that his power lies in the mental games, revealing that the Inquisitors are none other than former Jedi Padawans, BilValen, Masana Tide, and Prosset Dibs (the infamous Jedi from Mace Windu series by Marvel).
The Inquisitors then reveal that they are also aware of Barr’s true identity, and he is not even a teacher, but, a Padawan who didn’t succeed much in his training. That is a fact readers can agree to seeing how Barr was always unwilling to fight. However, it is the final moments of the issue when Barr’s grand plan is fully revealed. He used those unwitting students as foot soldiers, having no remorse as they were killed, and his only purpose was to ensnare the Inquisitors and Vader into an inescapable death-trap.
The masterstroke that Barr had was his familiarity with the new batch of Stormtroopers accompanying Vader and his Inquisitors. He knew that they were inexperienced clones, who were created after the Jedi purge in Revenge of the Sith. Therefore, they were programmable to carry out Order 66, to murder any and every Jedi, former or current. Barr then used his Jedi mind-trick to make them execute the Order 66, that included killing the Inquisitors.
However, Vader is missing (whom Barr knows as the backstabbing Anakin). In Vader’s absence, Barr’s plan is not complete, but, he killed whoever he could. In the process, he seems to have ensured his and Verla’s doom, but, as far as we have seen, this Jedi who pretends to be a master can employ any trick to murder his enemy, and that includes every Sith-tactic, even killing himself if needed.