In 1998, a new series debuted that turned the spotlight on one of the most popular characters from the Thrawn Trilogy of novels. Taking place during and shortly after the events in Return of the Jedi, Mara Jade carries out her final mission to assassinate the leader of the Black Nebula crime organization. But first she must escape the clutches of Ysanne Isard, who wants the Empire for herself and wants to eliminate the former Emperor's Hand. Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand was created by Timothy Zahn, Michael A Stackpole, and Carlos Ezquerra, with covers by Kilian Plunkett.
As a special preview to the series, an internet-exclusive #0 "issue" was posted at StarWars.com, featuring Mara Jade's introduction to Darth Vader. It was later reprinted in comic book form in the Trade Paperback.