Vader's Quest was a four-issue miniseries published in 1999. When placed next to each other in order, the covers formed a mural of characters and places from the story.
After Darth Vader's narrow escape from the destruction of the Death Star, the Dark Lord is consumed with a desire to find the Force-strong young pilot who fired the fatal shot. For Luke Skywalker represents the heart and soul of the Alliance, and perhaps, for Vader, he represents much, much more. The book's first printing features a foil-stamped logo and special bonus fold-out poster by Gibbons and Angus McKie.
Darth Vader continues to seek the man who destroyed the Death Star. In the Museum of the Old Republic on Centares, he and a bird-like mercenary/agent known as Ban Papeega interrogate and torture Thurlow Harris, a Rebel pilot who survived the Death Star battle, who had come to his homeworld of Centares to spread the word of the Death Star's destruction. The pilot offers the name of the man who destroyed the station, Skywalker. Before Vader is told the name, a Sephi spy named Mala Mala—who has lost some bets to Brazzo and others, witnessed the interrogation and heard the name—leaves the area with Fordee, her droid, after being teased. Vader then learns the name and is enraged and demolishes the recording in front of Papeega. It is the name of his son.
On Yavin 4, the disgruntled pilot Jal Te Gniev is angry that Luke Skywalker is a hero, while he, who had to sit out the Battle of Yavin due to a case of measles, has flown more missions, but is not yet a hero in the eyes of others. He takes off in an X-wing in a fit of anger and crashes just outside the temple, after R2-D2 accidentally sets off the alarm when C-3PO tells him not to do around it, but survives.
On Centares, everyone, including Brazzo, Selle, a Bith, and three other bounty hunters, who had witnessed the interrogation and could have heard the name "Skywalker" is executed, except Mala Mala and Fordee, who manages to give Thurlow an honorable death before escaping.
On Yavin 4, the Rebel Alliance leadership council determines that Jal is a threat to them, and their secrecy, so Jal is reassigned to Dubrava, where he will be a recruiting liaison. In the meantime, General Jan Dodonna has a mission for Luke.
Meanwhile, in the aviary on Centares, Vader kills Papeega and sets the aviary on fire from one of his stormtrooper's blasters. Outside the aviary, Mala Mala and Fordee are caught in stormtrooper fire. The troopers report them dead to Vader, who then takes off to his Interdictor ship. Fordee is destroyed, yet Mala Mala is rescued by Beesix.
Jal is approached on Dubrava by a boy named Bobek who wishes to join the Rebellion. Jal patronizes the boy and breaks his hopes. Jal then tries to drown his sorrows, and while doing so accidentally tells Nevana, a local woman, that "Skywalker greenhorn" is on a mission to Jazbina. Recognizing the name Skywalker as one on a recent bounty list, Nevana goes to the bounty hunter Sarma and trades the location for an erasure of her father's debt to Sarma.
On Dubrava, Nevana is killed for her knowledge, and Jal almost is, but Bobek saves his life by taking a blast for him. Jal knows that now Vader must be going after Luke on Jazbina.
On Coruscant, Vader reports to Palpatine (finally) and hides the fact that his quarry has the same last name. Vader is then informed of the Jazbina lead and leaves immediately. Elsewhere on Coruscant, near the palace, Mala Mala and her ship have been shot down by defense fire, arrives and prepares to infiltrate the palace after she repairs Beesix.
On Jazbina, Luke heads into a mine with journalist droid 3DVO and Choraw, an elderly guide, in order to find Syayna. Choraw lets himself be killed by a large carnivorous worm called a tikulini, and Luke fights the tikulini, stumbling upon Syayna and her "kidnappers." Upon seeing (via 3DVO) Syayna and her "captors," Prepredenko orders 3DVO to drug Luke, and Prepredenko's guards take Luke and Syayna's "captors" hostage. They are not her captors at all, however, as she was not kidnapped, but escaped to join them. They are the Rebel underground on Jazbina, and now Luke has gotten them caught.
Soon, Darth Vader arrives at Jazbina. Jal arrives as well, and the race for Skywalker is on. Vader wishes Luke to be captured alive, but when Prepredenko asks what Vader‘s message is, 3DVO tells Prepredenko that Vader wants Luke dead. 3DVO is not happy with being used to capture the Rebels, and he knows that Prepredenko will be punished for killing Luke. Shortly thereafter, Syayna goes with her father to kill Luke, but she blasts him with a stun setting, convincing her father that he is dead. As Syayna frees Luke and the other Rebels, Prepredenko meets with Vader and informs him of Luke's death. Vader is furious.
On Coruscant, Mala Mala is captured invading the palace and taken to the Emperor.
Back on Jazbina, Prepredenko is imprisoned and tortured, but thanks to a feed from 3DVO, the entire planet sees his heartfelt message to Syayna when he confesses his mistakes and tells her he loves her. 3DVO is then destroyed by stormtroopers. The Rebels determine that they must get Luke off the planet, and they break into the hangar where Luke's X-wing is stored, only to find that Jal has already killed the guards himself. Vader arrives, though, and they are to be arrested and/or killed. A horde of angered citizens arrives, though, causing a standoff. Jal jumps in the X-wing and charges up to Vader's Interdictor cruiser, which he destroys (along with himself) in the memory of Bobek. Seeing the explosion of the Interdictor from the surface, Vader relents and stalks away, as his stormtroopers are defeated by the citizens. The situation on Jazbina will soon be one of Rebel sympathy and a kinder leadership.
On Coruscant, Mala Mala has told Palpatine that the man who destroyed the Death Star is named "Skywalker," and she has been given parts to build new droid friends in return. Mala Mala leaves, satisfied with the arrangement, and Palpatine sits amused, planning to greet Vader on his next visit by using Vader's former name, Skywalker.
Croatian writer Darko Macan named many characters and planets in the series—such as bounty hunter Mala Mala, planet Dubrava, princess Syayna, and rebel pilot Jal Te Gniev—using words from his native Croatian language. Their meaning is similar in most of the Slavic languages such as Bulgarian, Serbian, etc.
Vader's Quest sees Vader discover that it was "Skywalker" who destroyed the Death Star. He will discover that it was "Luke" Skywalker in Star Wars 35: Dark Lord's Gambit.
|Collected (TPB) issue||Released issue||Future issue|
|Issue||Title||Publication date||Trade paperback||TPB pub date||Omnibus collection||Omnibus pub date|
|Vader's Quest||Vader's Quest||December 15, 1999||Star Wars Omnibus: Early Victories||October 8, 2008|
|1||Vader's Quest 1||February 17, 1999|
|2||Vader's Quest 2||March 17, 1999|
|3||Vader's Quest 3||April 21, 1999|
|4||Vader's Quest 4||May 19, 1999|