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His alter ego is James Jesse (the opposite of Jesse James), a stage name to replace his true identity, Giovanni Giuseppe. He was a circus acrobat who decided to become a criminal for the thrill. He created shoes that allowed him to walk on air and other dangerous gag gadgets for his crimes. He would clash with The Flash many times.
He was among the villains who were brainwashed into giving up crime by The Top. He spent a time working in special effects with Blue Devil, before defeating Neron, with Captain Marvel's help. Justifying his change of heart by saying he no longer dared to go to Hell, he began using his con-artist skills for good, before joining the FBI.
Working as an agent of the FBI, James Jesse gathered the reformed Rogues to stop Captain Cold and his Rogues. But the Top appeared and reverted what he did to the reformed Rogues. Jesse is now a member of the Rogues again.
James appeared in Countdown #51, where he arrived at fellow Rogue Heat Wave's apartment. Heat Wave reprimanded James on the fact that he was once helping the Flash, but it appears that the brainwashing done to him has been completely undone. Unbeknownst to the two, as they were discussing the future of the Rogues, one of the Pied Piper's rats had been spying on the two.Countdown #51 Pied Piper would later rejoin the Rogues as well and form a turbulent friendship with Jesse. After several Rogues murder Bart Allen in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, the two are on the run from heroes and villains alike.
After attending Bart Allen's funeral in secret, Piper and the Trickster are captured by Deadshot and Multiplex and handcuffed together. They manage to escape from their captors, but unfortunately they are shackled together as they continue their lives on the lam. They quickly make their way to Gotham where they are offered partial sanctuary by the Penguin. The duo then escape the Suicide Squad only to have the Question and Batwoman catch up with them.
Piper and Trickster immediately begin to plead with the two heroes that they personally were not responsible for the death of Bart Allen. Batwoman is quick to ignore their pleads, and more concerned for busting the two criminals for the Flash's death. The Question however, is willing to hear them out, at which point the Trickster performs a puppet show in order to plead their case, using puppets of himself and the Flash. Batwoman becomes furious at the disrespect that Trickster shows, and punches him down. The Question however, believes their story, saying that they are 'too stupid to kill time' and lets them go. When Batwoman demands what right she has to release them, she states that her past as a police detective taught her to spot true murderers.
The two Rogues inadvertently make it to Poison Ivy's greenhouse, and are captured. Deathstroke arrives and decides to use them as bait, planting a bomb on them. They are saved by the intervention of Wally West. Wally confines the two at the Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding, despite the warnings that Deathstroke is planning an all-out assault at the occasion. The two manage to escape the wedding assault, inadvertently picking up Double Down as a passenger. The trio stop at a diner, only to be attacked by the Suicide Squad. Double Down is captured, but Piper and Trickster, using an invisibility field decide to follow the Squad and free the other captured villains. They encounter and free Two-Face, who tells them that the villains are being shipped off at a secret base. The pair then narrowly avoid capture by Deadshot.
After a valiant attempt to save their own lives and an eventual acceptance of Pied Piper's orientation, the Trickster is shot by Deadshot while trying to defend Pied Piper. Piper is left alone with the corpse of Trickster attached to him still, and is lost in the desert with his dead (but talkative) companion. Piper eventually chops off the hand of Trickster after carrying his corpse as far as he can. While Most of Trickster's body remained on Earth, his hand took the trip with Pied Piper to Apokolips. There the hand fell into Apokolips after being separated from Piper. The planet then seemed to explode after Piper played his swan song for Trickster.
While the first Trickster was working for the FBI, teenager Axel Walker stole all of Jesse's gadgets and shoes and became the new Trickster. He joined Blacksmith's Network and destroyed files from Goldface and Hunter Zolomon for her. He was also given new "toys" in addition to James's originals. After the defeat of Blacksmith, He was offered to join the new Rogues led by Captain Cold, and took it. He remained with the new Rogues until the "reformed" Rogues attempted to stop Cold. While the two Tricksters were fighting, the Top gave Jesse's memory back. The original Trickster then defeated his successor and told him never to become the Trickster again.
After some time Alex escaped from the prison and he returned to Keyston City. However quickly he was defeated through of Flash.Teen Titans v3 #7
Axel's only appearance since then was in Helmet of Fate: Detective Chimp, where he answered an ad from four college students asking for an experienced superhero to train them. Once he arrived to the location in the ad, he had dinner with them and then killed all four of them. His crime was discovered when Detective Chimp found the Helmet of Fate, put it on, and used it to help deduce who the murderer was. Axel was then arrested.
Powers and abilities
The Trickster has a number of trick items that he employs. This includes Itching Powder, potato-head bombs, Exploding rubber chickens, Exploding Yo-Yo’s, Sharpened jacks, Hard shell Candy and various other joke themed weapons.
The Trickster wears a pair of shoes that allow him to fly for up to 10 hours.
The Flash TV series
In the live-action television series The Flash (1990–1991), the Trickster was played by Mark Hamill, who would later play the Joker in 1992's Batman: the Animated Series. In the episode "The Trickster", private investigator Megan Lockhart (played by Joyce Hyser) attempts to capture a wanted criminal psychopath named James Jesse. During the pursuit, Jesse manages to get the upper hand and capture Lockhart, but not before she is able to call her friend Barry Allen (played by John Wesley Shipp), whom she had learned was the Flash in an earlier episode. The Flash saves Megan, and Jesse is arrested. As a result, both The Flash and Megan Lockhart become James Jesse's new fixation. After escaping from police custody, he takes on the costumed identity of The Trickster. He has psychotic delusions that Lockhart had been his true love, a costumed sidekick named Prank. He believes that Prank has been kidnapped and brainwashed by the "evil" Flash, and manages to coerce Lockhart into wearing the Prank costume and serving as his sidekick after delivering a death threat to Barry Allen. Barry manages to escape from a drowning stunt, changes into his Flash costume, and sends the Trickster back behind bars, thanks to Lockhart's "betrayal".
In the final episode of the series ("Trial Of The Trickster"), James Jesse escapes from his criminal trial with an unexpected help from a fake court stenographer (played by Corinne Bohrer) named Zoey Clark, the wealthy owner of Clarx Toys. She is a huge fan of the Trickster and would do anything to get her hands on him. As they arrive safely at her toy store, Clark admits that she finds a kindred spirit in the Trickster and wants to be his fantasy sidekick Prank. She takes her clothes off to reveal the Prank costume underneath and seduces the Trickster into thinking that "she" is the Prank of his delusions.
After a brief "reunion", both the Trickster and the new Prank kidnap the Flash and brainwash him into becoming evil. The fastest man alive becomes the Trickster's new partner, causing Prank to become jealous over being replaced. She complains to the Trickster, only to end up restrained inside her toy store for being a nuisance.
Meanwhile, the Trickster plans to put Central City into trial but fails after the Flash regains his memories. He hurriedly escapes from the court and is rescued again by Prank, who manages to break free from her binds and is still in love with him. The Trickster shows his gratitude by pushing Prank out of the getaway car and runs off solo, leaving Prank behind again. In the end, the Trickster loses the battle with the Flash and gets arrested along with Prank. The Trickster is incarcerated into a high-restricted prison cell, isolating him away from anyone else.
In 1995, the two episodes were edited together into a movie and released on video as The Flash II: Revenge of the Trickster.
Justice League Unlimited
In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance," Mark Hamill reprises his role as the James Jesse version of The Trickster. The Trickster attempts to help three other Flash villains Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, and Mirror Master form a plan to destroy the Flash, though his contribution to the plan (involving four hundred cases of greased, fake dog vomit and a wall of metal spikes) is rejected. He is next seen disgruntled at the bar where Flash's enemies hang out. Upon the arrivals of Flash, Batman, and Orion, Orion tries to muscle the Trickster into revealing the other villains' plans, until Flash intervenes and speaks to him in a friendly manner, noting that James wasn't taking his medication (Trickster was apparently unaware that he was even wearing a costume until the Flash pointed it out). Trickster informs the heroes of the plan to ambush Flash at the museum opening, and agrees to turn himself in after finishing his drink. The animated Trickster is apparently not a total villain, aware of his psychosis, and does seek treatment if encouraged.
Following Mark Hamill's appearance on the TV show, an occasional in-joke appeared in the comics, where the Trickster, while using his flying shoes, often quipped that he was "doing his Luke Skywalker imitation."
- The Trickster Bio
- The Trickster II Bio
- Alan Kistler's profile on the Flash - A detailed analysis of the history of the Flash by comic book historian Kistler. Covers information all the way from Jay Garrick to Barry Allen to today, as well as discussions on the various villains and rogues who fought the Flash. Various art scans.
- Crimson Lightning - An online index to the comic book adventures of the Flash.
- COUNTING DOWN TO COUNTDOWN, V: MARY MARVEL, TRICKSTER, PIED PIPER
Countdown # 51