For other uses of Trickster, see Trickster (disambiguation).

"I’ve had twenty years to come up with the perfect trick. It’s going to be... my masterpiece. My Mona Lisa! My Breaking Bad season five!"
—James Jesse to Axel Walker, about his greatest "trick" ever[src]

James Jesse is a psychotic criminal who operated under the guise of The Trickster. Considered the most dangerous thing Central City had ever seen prior to the Particle Accelerator explosion, Jesse was incarcerated in Iron Heights Prison after committing a series of terrorist attacks, in which he killed at least ten civilians and two cops. Years later, James Jesse eventually became one of The Flash's many enemies, going so far as to develop an obsession with killing the Flash, as seen with drawings on the wall of Jesse's maximum security ward.


Early life

In 1990, Jesse had a son named Axel Walker, though had no initial contact with him.[1]

Criminal activities

The Trickster (James Jesse)

The Trickster in his prime.

Around five years later, James Jesse took on the guise of "the Trickster", wearing a unitard as a costume. He performed a series of terrorist attacks, killing at least 10 civilians and 2 police officers, becoming, as described by Joe West, the most dangerous thing Central City had ever seen. Eventually, he was caught by police and incarcerated in Iron Heights Prison.[1]


James Jesse's CCPD record

James Jesse's CCPD record and news about his arrest.

Sometime before 2005, Jesse began talking to his son, Axel, through letters, grooming him to be an ideal comrade to him as The Trickster. For the next 10 years, they continue to talk and became close. In 2010, a criminal psychologist began talking to James. Before long, he was able to talk her in to committing suicide. As a result, Warden Gregory Wolfe had a cell specially-built for James Jesse. At some point in his incarceration, Jesse was given cable so he'd stop killing the guards, referencing the show Breaking Bad and the movie Speed in the future.[1]

Teaming up with his son

Five years later, after Axel had begun to act as the new Trickster, Detective Joe West and Barry Allen came to him for help, giving him red liquorice to co-operate. He angrily claimed to have no association with the new Trickster, demanding that they kill him before he ruin his reputation. Apparently realizing that there could only be one way for the new Trickster to replicate the composition of his explosives, he directed them to his old lair. They returned later, having found nothing in his lair's vault. In discovering this, Jesse let them know of a giant bomb that he had, one big enough to blow up Central City. At the same time, they were notified of a vlog posted by The Trickster, claiming to have the giant bomb and would blow it up if they couldn't find him, searching between certain streets. As the police and The Flash began searching for it, Axel started to help James escape, as there had been no real bomb. With them, they took Henry Allen due to his connection to the Central City Police Department. While waiting around, Axel wondered why he'd been chosen, and James finally revealed that he was his father. That night, they began work on Jesse's big plan.[1]

The bomb on The Flash's wrist placed by The Trickster

The bomb on The Flash's wrist placed by The Trickster.

At an event held by Mayor Anthony Bellows at City Hall, they acted as waiters, poisoning the wine with one that took around an hour to act. Revealing themselves, they held the room hostage until they had transferred their bank accounts, at which time they would give them the antidote. The Flash soon found them and attempted to help, but Jesse placed a bomb on his wrist, hooked up to a speedometer disallowing him from going any slower than 600 mph. Barry was soon able to get it off and came back with an antidote, giving it to all of them. Realizing that he'd finally been caught, he gave up the location of Henry Allen. [1]

Christmas release

James Jesse's drawings of the Flash on the wall of his maximum security ward in Iron Heights

James Jesse's drawings of the Flash on the wall of his maximum security ward in Iron Heights.

Six months later, nearing Christmas, Mark Mardon came to Iron Heights to free him and Leonard Snart, hoping the two of them would aid him in killing the Flash, however Snart declined. Jesse, on the hand, who had wanted to get revenge on the Flash ever since he was recaptured, agreed and sent out a video to Central City declaring his intention to kill the Flash. When Flash and Patty Spivot arrived at his location it was a trap and he attacked them with bombs. Flash escaped by shooting a whirlwind at the ground. Later Jesse dressed as Santa and was handing out bombs looking like presents to kids. Flash later caught Mardon but Jesse said that if he attacked him he would set off one hundred of his bombs, which Cisco Ramon, Harrison Wells, and Jay Garrick stopped with a powerful magnet. Mardon then attacked the Flash with ice balls because he refused to fight for fear of the bombs going off. After he was done with him, Mardon let Jesse kill him. Then Jesse saw the bombs exploding in the sky and the Flash tied him with Christmas lights. After Flash defeated Mardon, he and Patty Spivot took him and Jesse to jail.[2]


Two years later, Jesse escaped and leaving drawings in his cell, meaning his obsession to Flash and that he will return to kill him. However his former partner doubts he will ever return as she told their son she hasn't heard from him leaving his fate unknown.


"We don't have a Trickster on Earth-Two."
"Yeah, he is one-of-a-kind.
"Jay Garrick" and Cisco[src]

Childish and exuberant in nature, James Jesse’s lack of conscience and bloodthirsty nature was deterred by a silly demeanour such as his love for candy and garish clothing in his earlier days. Even during his plans fruition, successes and failures, Jesse remained with a childish grin and happy demeanour - presumably this was a part of his psychoses. Joe West states that Jesse’s malice upon Central City was such that even the multiple metahuman rampages that occurred after the Particle Accelerator’s explosion paled in comparison to the danger and terror that Jesse inflicted with his attacks in his hay day.

James seems to be something of a showman, fond of grand displays designed to show off his intelligence or evoke terror rather than the quieter, more efficient strategies utilized by other Flash villains such as Leonard Snart as opposed to Eobard Thawne (although Snart has shown a willingness for public engagements). Like Cisco, he has a fondness for making comparisons to electronic media, comparing his crimes to the television show, Breaking Bad as well as the movie Speed.

After being imprisoned yet again, he developed obsession with killing the Flash, as seen with the drawings he made of him. It's likely James had come to see killing the Flash would be the greatest "trick' he could pull off.


  • Genius-level intellect/Expert tactician/Manipulator: Despite his deranged nature, James lives up to his moniker, proving himself to be very crafty and methodical in his schemes. He is very patient and well-prepared, having used his time locked up in prison to plan out his escape while likewise preparing his next crime. He was also able to factor in the appearance of the Flash. Likewise, James has proven himself to be very manipulative and a skilled actor, convincingly faking ignorance and hatred for someone using his title.
  • Expert engineer: Through his various terrorist attacks, James showed himself a very talented chemist and mechanic, able to produce a very unique and potent bomb-type. Only he was said to know the formula for the chemicals in his bombs, though Axel Walker learned it from him and used it in his own bombings. He is also able to design a very sophisticated bomb made especially for the Flash, which only failed to stop the speedster thanks to the assistance of Eobard Thawne teaching the Flash how to turn intangible.
  • Acute sense of smell: Jesse claimed he could smell the candy Barry had despite the sweets being wrapped in plastic and in Barry’s pocket, although this may have just been more of his mind games.


The Flash

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

The Chronicles of Cisco


  • According to Hunter Zolomon, the Trickster doesn't have a counterpart on Earth Two.[2]
    • However, he has a counterpart on Earth Three, making him the only known character to have a Doppelgänger on Earth Three, but not on Earth Two.[3] Although it could be possible that he has a different career on Earth Two where he didn't turn to a life of crime.

Behind the scenes

  • This version of the Trickster has similarities with The Joker, Batman's nemesis.
    • He is played by Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker in the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series and several video games, where he uses a similar voice and personality.
    • In the Trickster's lair, the exploding door has a clown's face painted very similar to that of the Joker's.
  • Photos of James Jesse when he was younger are taken from various episodes from the 1990 series, The Flash, in which Mark Hamill starred as the same character. In the episode, he also kidnaps Henry Allen, who's played by John Wesley Shipp who portrayed the original Flash, referencing their former rivalry.
    • In his last appearance in the 1990 series, he was locked in a cell similar to this version's. 
    • His old lair is similar to that of the one in the 1990 series. 
    • Before this series, Hamil reprises his role as the Trickster in "Flash and Substance" a Flash-centered episode of the show Justice League Unlimited.  
  • The name "James Jesse" is a play on American outlaw, Jesse James, as referenced by Joe West.[1]
    • In DC Comics, James Jesse was in actuality an alias assumed by Trickster, whose real name was Giovanni Giuseppe. It is currently unknown if "James Jesse" is also a stage name on The Flash television series.
  • Jesse's line to Axel, "I am your father", is a reference to Mark Hamill's role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, in which Luke's father, Darth Vader, reveals said relation with the same words.
  • James Jesse is an apparent fan of the television series Breaking Bad, as alluded to when he mentioned his master plan.
  • The drawings in the Trickster's cell display The Flash donning the classic costume from the 1990 TV series rather than the current one.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Tricksters"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Running to Stand Still"
  3. "The Present"