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[Trickster]
Alter Ego: James Jesse
Real Name: Giovanni Giuseppe
Known Relatives: Unnamed father and other members of the Flying Jesses, Billy Hong (son)
Occupation: Criminal (of the costumed bank robber variety)
Former Occupations: Con Artist, Special Effects Designer, FBI Agent
Group Affiliation: The Rogues
Past Group Affiliation: FBI
Base of Operations: Keystone City, Kansas
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
First Appearance: Flash v.1 #113 (July 1960)
Death: Shot in the head and chest by Deadshot (Countdown to Final Crisis #22, 2007)
See Also: The Trickster II, The Trickster (TV)

[The Trickster's original costume]James Jesse, circus acrobat and the youngest of the Flying Jesses, was fascinated by stories of the famous outlaw Jesse James. To guard against his fear of heights and still perform in the act, he invented his “Airwalker Shoes”—which, as their name implies, allowed him to walk on air. However, his aerialist act was not enough, and he turned to crime for a greater thrill. After holding up a few airplanes in mid-flight, he picked Central City as his new base, where he ran afoul of the second Flash and found the thrill he needed in matching wits against his super-speed foe. His trademark (aside from walking on air), has his biting sense of humor and a wide range of dangerous, but harmless-looking gadgets that he would use in his crimes.

Reformation

After that Flash’s death, he traveled to Los Angeles, where he fought the Blue Devil several times, until that hero convinced him he could make a fortune in the movie business as a special effects artist. The Trickster became a part-time persona, taking up less and less time, until he saw in the newspaper...

[Trickster] ...a quintuple obituary. Five of the Trickster’s former comrades—most of the Rogues Gallery—had died spectacularly. Jesse decided in their memory to “cruise for the big score...” and found it. He followed along when dozens of villains were invited to Hell by the demon Neron and offered tantalizing deals in exchange for their souls. Neron took a strange interest in Jesse, and didn’t even offer him a deal. As a result, he was the only one around who knew Neron’s weakness without owing him anything—and almost single-handedly defeated him (Underworld Unleashed, 1995).

Jesse decided he’d better start earning some good karma, because he didn’t dare go to Hell and face Neron. He continued playing his con-artist games, but for the side of light instead of for personal gain. Not long after, he agreed to help an old girlfriend, Mindy Hong, rescue her son Billy from warlords in the small Himalayan country of Zhutan who believed him to be the Majee, a human agent appointed by their god Meshta. During the rescue, it turned out not only that Billy was, in fact, the Majee, but that he was also Jesse’s son (New Year’s Evil: The Rogues, 1998).

Rogue to the End

For a time, Jesse worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, using his insider knowledge and skills to stop crime instead of commit it. Ostensibly his job was testing security, but he was also involved in a project with other reformed rogues. The plan was to redeem themselves by tracking down their former colleagues. It failed spectacularly. The Top revealed that he had planted the impulse to reform in the Trickster’s mind...and he removed it. Jesse reverted to form, attacked the impostor and took back his gear, and rejoined the Rogues.

The Trickster was present when several Rogues killed the fourth Flash, Bart Allen. They found themselves on the run from heroes and villains alike (Flash: TFMA #10–13: Full Throttle & Countdown, 2007). Trickster and the Pied Piper were the only ones to escape capture, though they were bound together by a pair of unbreakable handcuffs. For weeks, Deadshot pursued the pair as they fled across the country. He caught up with them on a train in the Rocky Mountains. In pitched battle, Deadshot managed to shoot James Jesse twice: once in the heart, and once in the head. He died instantly (Countdown to Final Crisis #22, 2007)

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Primary Sources

  • “Danger in the Air” - Flash (first series) #113 (July 1960), John Broome*
  • Underworld Unleashed (November–December 1995), Mark Waid
  • New Year’s Evil: The Rogues (February 1998), Brian Augustyn

Art

  • Current Costume: Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #12 (June 2007) - Tony Daniel and either Art Thibert or Jonathan Glapion
  • Original Costume: Flash (first series) #113 (June–July 1960) - Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella
  • Jacket: Flash Secret Files (November 1997) - Ron Wagner and Josef Rubinstein

Profiles

  • Who’s Who in the DC Universe #24 (February 1987)
  • Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #5 (December 1990)
  • Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997)
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia under Trickster II (2004)
  • Countdown #28 (October 17, 2007)
  • The Flash Companion (2008)

Significant Silver-Age Flash Appearances

  • Flash #113 (June 1960): “Danger in the Air!” John Broome
  • Flash #121 (June 1961): “The Trickster Strikes Back!” John Broome
  • Flash #129 (June 1962): “Double Danger on Earth!” Gardner Fox
  • (Impersonated/cameo) Flash #130 (August 1962): “Who Doomed the Flash?” John Broome
  • Flash #142 (February 1964): “Perilous Pursuit of the Trickster!” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #152 (May 1965): “The Trickster’s Toy Thefts!” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #177 (March 1968): “The Swell-Headed Super-Hero,” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #209 (September 1971): “Beyond the Speed of Life!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #228 (August 1974): “The Day I Saved the Flash!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #239 (February 1976): “The Tailor-Made Crimes of Central City!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #242 (June 1976): “The Charge of the Electric Gang!” Cary Bates (cameo)
  • Flash #243–244 (August–September 1976): “If I Can’t Rob Central City, Nobody Can!” and “The Last Day of June is the Last Day of Central City!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #254 (October 1977): “To Believe or Not to Believe!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #256 (December 1977): “Prisoner of the Past,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #285 (May 1980): “If, At First, You Don’t Succeed...,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #325 (September 1983): “Dead Reckoning,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #338–342 (October 1984–February 1985): “The Revenge of the Rogues!” “Warday!” “Reach Out and Waste Someone!” “Trial and Tribulation,” and “Smash-Up,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #347 (July 1985): “Back from the Dead!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #349–350 (September–October 1985): “...And the Truth Shall Set Him Free!” and “Flash Flees,” Cary Bates

Significant Legacy-Era Flash Appearances

  • Flash #19 (December 1988): “A Meeting of Rogues,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Secret Origins #41 (June 1989): “A Rogue By Any Other Name,” Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn
  • Flash Annual 5 (1992): “Run-In” (Eclipso: The Darkness Within), Mark Waid and Craig Boldman
  • Underworld Unleashed (November–December 1995), Mark Waid
  • Impulse #14–15 (June–July 1996): “Faith” and “Trust,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #127 (July 1997): “Hell To Pay” Part 1, Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • New Year’s Evil: The Rogues (February 1998): “Men & Gods,” Brian Augustyn
  • Impulse #39 (July 1998): “Who Tricks the Trickster?,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Legends of the DC Universe #15–17 (April–June 1999): “Dark Matters,” Michael Jan Friedman
  • Flash #156 (January 2000): “Convergence,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #190 (November 2002): “Rat Race,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #208 (May 2004): “The Red Carpet,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #210 (July 2004): “Reconnected,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #212 (September 2004): “Mirror, Mirror On the Wall,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #216 (January 2005): “The Secret of Barry Allen, Part Three: Spinning,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #217 (February 2005): “Post-Crisis,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #218 (March 2005): “Rogue Profile: Heat Wave,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #½ (2005): “Rogue Wars Prologue: Tricksters,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #220–225 (May–October 2005): “Rogue War,” Geoff Johns

Significant One-Year-Later Flash Appearances

  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #12–13 (July–August 2007): “Full Throttle,” Marc Guggenheim
  • All-Flash #1 (September 2007): “Justice, Like Lightning,” Mark Waid
  • Regular in Countdown (2007–2008)

Notes

*“Danger in the Air” is available in The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told, The Flash Archives Volume 2, and Showcase Presents: The Flash Volume 1.

Related Commentary

The Flash Companion The Flash Companion
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