SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Darth Vader #16, by Charles Soule, Daniele Orlandini, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Marvel's Darth Vader comics have provided fans with great insight into what the character did between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope; proving why he was worthy of being Emperor Palpatine's right-hand man. The latest arc, "Burning Seas," sees the Sith Lord trying to quell the Mon Calamari resistance to make the planet submissive to the Galactic Empire once more.
However, thanks to the defiance of Admiral Acbkar and a new, secret Jedi Order led by the mysterious Ferren Barr, things aren't going as planned. With Vader finally snuffing out the location of Master Barr and his students though, the table turns in Darth Vader #16. But as the Empire begins to kill off the Jedi students, we actually find out Barr's school has a dark, Sith-like origin.
When Barr finds out Vader's coming, his squad retreats, especially as they're not fully trained as soldiers. Sadly, they meet up Vader's underwater kill-squad and are picked off one by one. As key students die, flashbacks of their recruitment illustrate just how sinister Barr's methods were. After Vader destroy's Nipaltoo's underwater helmet and drowns him, the flashback shows Barr recruiting him, but under the auspices of finding justice for his sister, a murdered Jedi trainee. What's disconcerting is Barr appears to goad him using a Jedi mind-trick (the power of mental persuasion) into joining his ranks.
When another student, Orvek, gets blasted by Vader's ships, his flashback shows Barr also manipulated him, capitalizing on his hatred for the Empire who displaced his people from their homes. Orvek seemed to be entranced by a mind-trick as well. When a young couple, Stell and Rebb, also perish, their flashback shows Barr coaxing them by offering their lives "purpose." At this point, it's evident Barr isn't assembling Jedi, because there are no signs these recruits are Force sensitive. From his manipulative ways, it seems more like a cult, with Barr preying on everyone's desire for revenge and promising them this is the absolute path to a better galaxy; methods which are very much Sith-like.
Barr is fully exposed later on when Vader leaves to go find the Mon Cala king, Lee-Char, and sends his Inquisitors after the rogue Jedi and his remaining students, Daren (someone inspired by the heroics of a young Anakin Skywalker) and the headstrong Verla (whose past is still a mystery). After cutting Daren down, the Inquisitors go in for the kill, only for Barr to shockingly throw his lightsaber away. He admits his strength is in mind games, divulging that the Inquistors are former Jedi Padawans -- Bil Valen, Masana Tide and Prosset Dibs (the disgraced Jedi from Marvel's Mace Windu series).
The Inquisitors reveal they too know Barr, who's not even a master, but a Padawan that didn't get far in his training -- something readers can believe seeing as Barr is always reluctant to engage in battle. But in the issue's final moments, Barr's big plan comes full-circle: he's using naive students as pawns, pretty much showing no conscience as they die, in order to lure the Inquisitors and Vader into a death-trap.
Barr's ace-in-the-hole is he also knows the new batch of Stormtroopers which Vader and his Inquisitors roll with are fresh clones off the product line, who came after the Jedi purging in Revenge of the Sith. As such, they can still be programmed to execute Order 66 -- to kill any and all Jedi, past and present. By sharing this information about the Inquistors' past in front of the Stormtroopers, Barr then uses his Jedi mind-trick to actually push them into Order 66 mode, which includes killing the Inquisitors.
Of course, with Vader (who Barr knows is the traitorous Anakin) absent, his full plan isn't coming to fruition, but Barr is clearly taking whatever victims he can get. In the process, he may have doomed himself and Verla, but as we've seen so far, this Jedi pretending to be a master really is willing to do anything to kill his enemies, even if it means he has to employ Sith-like tactics, and possibly kill himself.