- For other uses of Trickster, see Trickster (disambiguation).
- "You know, when I was free and at my height, a day without casualties was like... well, like the Cubs winning the pennant... it just never happened."
- —James Jesse[src]
James Jesse is a psychopathic criminal who operated under the mantle 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 on, James started dating Zoey Clark. At some point, Jesse took on the guise of "the Trickster", wearing a unitard as a costume, with Zoey becoming his accomplice with the name "Prank". 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 at the time. After the birth of their son, Axel Walker, Jesse left them to continue his crime spree, though Axel idolized him. Eventually, he was caught by police and incarcerated in Iron Heights Prison.
Sometime before 2005, Jesse began talking to his son, Axel, through letters, grooming him to be an ideal comrade to him as The Trickster while keeping him in the dark about his parentage. For the next 10 years, they continued to talk and became close. In 2010, a criminal psychologist began talking to James. Before long, however, he was able to talk her in to committing suicide. As a result, Warden Gregory Wolfe had an isolated cell specially-built for James Jesse. At some point in his incarceration, Jesse was given cable television so he'd stop killing the guards, allowing him to watch programs such as the show Breaking Bad and the Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock movie Speed.
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 Jesse for help, giving him red liquorice for his cooperation. 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.
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 and, comparing it to the movie Speed, hooked up to a speedometer disallowing him from going any slower than 600 miles per hour. 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, Jesse gave up the location of Henry Allen.
Six months later, nearing Christmas, Mark Mardon came to Iron Heights to free Jesse and Leonard Snart, hoping the two of them would aid him in killing the Flash. However, Snart declined and left. Jesse, on the hand, who had wanted to get revenge on the Flash ever since he was recaptured, agreed and they got to work on a plan. Jesse later appeared on a Trickster video broadcast to Central City declaring his intention to kill the Flash. When Flash and Patty Spivot arrived at his location it was a trap and they were surrounded by dreydel bombs, but they managed to escape.
Undeterred, Mardon and Jesse made a new plan. Jesse dressed as Santa Claus and handed out bombs hidden in presents to children all around the city while Mardon got the attention of the Flash by forming a storm over the city's Christmas tree lighting ceremony. After a chase, Mardon led the Flash to Jesse, where they informed him that they would set off all the bombs unless he let them torture and kill him. Giving up, the Flash agreed and handed Mardon the Weather Wand. Mardon then attacked the Flash with ice balls, wind blasts, and lightning strikes while he and Jesse watched and laughed gleefully. After he was satisfied, Mardon told Jesse to finish him off. Declaring that he would be the man who saved Central City, Jesse revealed a dagger and brought it to his neck, only for Cisco Ramon, Harry Wells, and "Jay Garrick" to eliminate the bombs with a powerful magnet and a breach to Earth-2.
Seizing the chance, Flash tied up Jesse with Christmas lights, took the wand, and defeated Mardon, only for Patty to arrive to murder Mardon to avenge her father. After the Flash convinced her not to, Jesse shed a tear from the beauty of the speech, after which he and Mardon were sent back to jail.
Two years later, Jesse somehow escaped prison, leaving behind his obsessive Flash drawings in his cell, implying a future attempt to kill him. However, a year later, neither Zoey nor Axel had heard from him, leaving his whereabouts unknown.
- "We don't have a Trickster on Earth-2."
- "Yeah, he is one-of-a-kind."
- —"Jay Garrick" and Caitlin Snow[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: Despite his deranged nature, James Jesse lives up to his moniker, having once described himself as "tremendously creative", 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. Though they never met or fought before, Jesse was also able to factor in the appearance of the Flash and his superspeed. Months after Jesse's first defeat by the Flash, the wall of his maximum security cell was covered with drawings of how the Flash could die in his creative ways.
- Expert engineer/Explosives expert: 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, which James taught to his son, Axel Walker. 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.
- Expert of deception/Manipulator: James has proven himself to be very manipulative and a capable actor, convincingly faking ignorance and hatred for someone using his title.
- Keen sense of smell: Jesse claimed he could "smell" the candy Barry Allen 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 Chronicles of Cisco
- According to Hunter Zolomon, the Trickster doesn't have an Earth-2 counterpart.
- James has likely gone solo since his escape, as pre-Crisis and (so-far) post-Crisis shown no signs of him making contacy with Zoey and Axel.
Behind the scenes
- In DC Comics, the Trickster's real name was Giovanni Giuseppe, a circus acrobat who decided to become a criminal, adopting the alter ego "James Jesse", just like his "reverse namesake" Jesse James. He is the practical joker and con man whose favorite occupation is damaging enemies like the Flash with items such as explosive teddy bears, shoes he created that allowed him to walk on air, and other dangerous gag gadgets for his crimes.
- 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. Hamill also played the character in the 1990 live action Flash tv series and later reprised his role once more, this time providing the voice as an animated version of the character in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
- Unlike prior verisons of the Trickster, he an eccentric psychopath, with genius-level intelligence and a warped, sadistic sense of humor.
- 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, , in which Mark Hamill starred as the same character, later retconned as the Earth-90 version of the character.
- Jesse's line to Axel, "I am your father", is a reference to 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 a fan of the television series Breaking Bad, as alluded to when he mentioned his master plan. He also liked the Keanu Reeves movie Speed, as alluded to the bomb he placed on Flash's hand.
- The drawings in the Trickster's cell display The Flash donning the classic costume from the 1990 TV series rather than the 2014 one.
|Other versions of James Jesse (Earth-1)|
|To see other versions of this character, click the Earth name below for that Earth's counterpart of James Jesse.|
|Earth: 1 • 3 • 27 • 90|