Star Wars: Mara Jade: By The Emperorís Hand

Writers: Timothy Zahn & Michael A. Stackpole

Art: Carlos Ezquerra

Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                I was first introduced to my favorite Star Wars Expanded Universe character, Mara Jade, when I read the infamous Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn in 1991.  Finding her to be a strong female character that I could definitely relate to, I decided I needed to know even more about her.  What is the fastest and largest source of information available?  The internet.  It was here that I was introduced to Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand via an excerpt of the comic posted on the Dark Horse Comics website, listed as Mara Jade: By The Emperorís Hand # 0.  Immediately after reading the online excerpt, I began to search for the comics.  I was able to find one or two, but the search was hard going.  I had given it up completely when I finally found a trade paperback compiling all six issues of the series, including the original online excerpt

                Any novel by Timothy Zahn or Michael A. Stackpole, especially a Star Wars novel, is bound to be a fully action-packed nail-biting ride full of twists and turns.  The authorís combined efforts weave an excellent storyline for the former Imperial assassin.  Created by Timothy Zahn during the resurgence of Star Wars novels and introduced in the Thrawn Trilogy, all we really knew about Mara Jade up until this comic book series was that she was a force sensitive, used by the Emperor to assassinate his enemies.  Her last command had been to destroy Luke Skywalker and it had remained with her until she finally faced Skywalker again many years later.

                In Mara Jade: By the Emperorís Hand, we visit Maraís life during the Emperorís reign and witness the relationship between Mara Jade and Emperor Palpatine.  We watch as her status in the Imperial courts rapidly degenerates with the demise of the Emperor.  We feel Maraís guilt at not fulfilling her last order as it basically ensured the death of her master.  And finally, we witness Mara Jade try to rebuild her life by repairing old mistakes.

                The artwork done by Carlos Ezquerra is masterfully done, creating the Mara Jade I always envisioned Ė sexy, strikingly seductive, and incredibly dangerous.  The story is well done and captivating.  You wonít want to put this trade paperback down until youíve read it cover to cover.  Filled with intrigue and suspense, it reads more like a novel than a comic book.  For any Star Wars fan, this trade paperback is highly recommended.  For any Mara Jade fan, reading Star Wars: Mara Jade:  By the Emperorís Hand is a must!   


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