The Empire conquers Mon Cala as Vader confronts a would-be Jedi in Darth Vader #17 – Burning Seas Part V.
This review contains plot details for Darth Vader #17 – Burning Seas Part V.
Darth Vader #17 – Burning Seas Part V
Writer: Charles Soule | Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli | Finishes: Daniele Orlandini | Colors: David Curiel | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Elia Bonetti | Assistant Editors: Heather Antos & Tom Groneman | Editors: Jordan B. White (with Mark Paniccia)
Summary of Burning Seas V
Darth Vader#17 – “Burning Seas Part V” tells the epic conclusion to the Empire’s invasion of Mon Cala. Darth Vader finally catches up with King Lee-Char. However, before he takes the King into custody, Jedi Barr arrives and challenges Vader. Meanwhile, the Inquisitors have their hands full with the clones that Barr set against them after triggering Order 66. The Empire bombards Mon Cala until Admiral Raddus and the fleet attempts an escape. Only three starships escape from the Empire. Of the Inquisitors, Prosset Dibbs and the Ninth Sister perish. In the end, Vader defeats Barr, takes Lee-Char prisoner, and with Tarkin, conquers Mon Cala.
By Any Means Necessary
Jedi Barr is perhaps the most interesting character of this story arc. “Burning Seas Part V” offers the most interesting revelations about his character to date. In the last issue, it became apparent that Barr adhered to a different philosophy than that of most Jedi Star Wars fans have come to know. He seemingly used his Force abilities to influence his disciples. Furthermore, he apparently has no problem stretching or distorting the truth to achieve his goals. That was only the beginning.
In “Burning Seas Part V,” Barr demonstrates exactly how far he is willing to go to defeat the Sith. First, Vader accuses Barr of assassinating the Imperial ambassador. Barr doesn’t deny it. He needed the Empire to invade Mon Cala, and he was afraid that negotiations might actually resolve the dispute with Mon Cala. Therefore, he assassinated the diplomat to provoke a war.
Barr claims to have had a vision in which the Mon Cala will be at the forefront of a rebellion. Two rebellions to be precise. Although he might not be a Jedi any longer, he claims to have beaten the Sith with his actions.
No Longer a Jedi
Barr doesn’t deserve the title of Jedi. As Yoda once said, the Jedi uses the Force for defense, never for attack. Barr turned that on its head and used the Force to gain and betray the trust of Lee-Char and the Mon Cala. Once Lee-Char discovers Barr’s treachery, Barr begins laughing like a maniac. This appalls Lee-Char. Barr’s perversion of the Force and Jedi code cost the lives of billions. He attempts to justify this as the means to the ends of saving trillions.
Barr’s decision is one no Jedi would make. Vader sniffs out Barr’s true motivation: pride. Barr doesn’t deny it. In fact, Barr claims he is the one responsible for the ultimate defeat of the Sith (which is a matter open to debate). At some point, it seems Barr quit caring about freedom. He quit caring about the galaxy. The lives of innocent billions no longer mattered to him. It was all about beating the Sith. Perhaps he mistook the pride he felt for revenge. Under different circumstances, one could easily see him as one of Vader’s Inquisitors.
Barr likely would have gotten along with Saw Gerrera. Neither of them was interested in fighting according “to the rules.” Saw believed the Rebellion under Mon Mothma limited itself and its ability to win by waging a restricted war. He refused their self-imposed limitations. Similarly, Barr rejected the Jedi way all in the name of winning the war. In both cases, each man lost something of himself in the process. Saw literally lost much of his humanity, as symbolized by his many implants and artificial parts. Barr apparently lost his sanity as evidenced by his maniacal laughing when the truth of his actions was revealed. In contrast, Vader stood stoically and delivered the “Empire’s justice.”
There Is Another
Despite his demise, Barr’s legacy lives on. It isn’t the fleet either. In fact, much of the fleet didn’t make it out of Mon Cala’s orbit, and it wasn’t until decades later that Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the Rebellion brought Lee-Char’s final words to his people that the Mon Cala fleet truly escaped and made a difference. Indeed, the fleet is not his legacy.
Of all his disciples, one remains. A young human woman name Verla survived the initial attack from the Inquisitors and their clones. Before Barr moved to confront Vader, he sent her to hide and then find a Jedi master somewhere in the galaxy to train her. Readers last see Verla hiding in a tunnel during the aftermath of the Imperial bombardment of Mon Cala’s cities. Barr suggested that perhaps Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, or even Quinlan Vos might have survived Order 66. Perhaps she eventually finds one of them and trains as a Jedi. She poses a potential threat to the Emperor and is a possible future adversary for Vader.
Concluding Thoughts on Darth Vader #17 – Burning Seas Part V
Darth Vader #17 brings an end to the “Burning Seas” story arc. It has been a fine companion series to the “Mutiny on Mon Cala” story in the Star Wars book. Together, the two series echo the tone of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope respectively. The “Burning Seas” is the tragedy that gives way to optimism in “Mutiny on Mon Cala.”
Charles Soule did an amazing job writing an entire campaign of the Empire’s subjugation of the galaxy in just five issues. The story of Mon Cala’s surrender is complete. Furthermore, it is satisfying. Although the Empire is no more sympathetic, Barr’s instigation of this war does cast the Empire in a slightly different light. However, any favorable impression the Empire might have earned was lost when they continued bombarding the planet after Lee-Char’s surrender. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini added amazing art to make this theater of the ongoing war come alive.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.