James Jesse was born to the Flying Jesses, famous circus performers. He, however, was afraid of heights, and preferred reading stories of Western criminal Jesse James. He invented air-walker shoes to get rid of his acrophobia, and this led to his fame as an aerialist at the circus. However, he wanted more excitement, and became the Rogues Gallery member, the Trickster.
Trickster escaped from prison when he learned that the Picture News was planning to raise $100,000 at a charity event, which he planned to steal. However, Captain Cold had done the same thing. At first competing for the money, they decided to join forces when they were pursued but not only one, but two Flashes, as Jay Garrick had briefly come out of retirement. The pair successfully made their getaway, but were later captured when the two speedsters lured them into a trap by claiming that a recently discovered meteorite contained a fortune in diamonds.
However, Blue Devil convinced him to give up his criminal career to become a special effects designer. However, this was short-lived, and James was soon back to his old ways.
Upon reading the obituaries for five of his former associates, The Rogues, who died in catastrophic orchestrated explosions, James Jesse, determined to get out of his slump and score big, took a job with Rainbow Raider. The job was underwhelming to Jesse, however Bivolo shared with him the mysterious package he'd received. It was a single candle that came with a note, which in Bivolo's words explained, "...that the candle -- when lit at the stroke of midnight tonight -- would open the door to fame, power and glory." Trickster was skeptical, and handed back the box to Bivolo dismissively before leaving. However when Rainbow Raider open the box again, there was a rubber chicken in place of the candle.
At midnight, Trickster lit the eldritch candle. An intense green light flared, and when Trickster's eyes adjusted he found himself transported to the 'Underworld', along with a plethora of other villains. At first Trickster thought it was an opportunity to 'network' and team up with some of the big players of the criminal world. Soon the host of the gathering arrived, introducing himself as Neron. Trickster happened to be standing beside Fiddler who turned white. He shared his knowledge of gematria with Trickster, saying the numerical equivalent of 'Neron' is 666.
After endorsements from Kadabra, Luthor, Circe, Polaris and Joker, Neron then offered everyone their 'hearts desire' in exchange for their soul. Half immediately refused and were sent home, the others were given new or enhanced abilities according to their wants. Only Trickster was left hiding behind a rock, observing. Neron snuck up on him and implied he had been invited all along.
Trickster was treated differently by Neron, keeping him in his inner circle without offering him a deal. Unknown if he was the Devil's confidant of just another pawn, Jesse did what he could to figure out Neron's endgame. Eavesdropping eventually paid off. During Neron's punishment of Satanus and Blaze, the former let slip there was a certain word even Neron feared in this realm. Trickster did not know what to make of this until Captain Marvel proved to be the only hero uncorrupted by the evil of Neron's sanctum. At the first opening, he shared his intel with the Big Red Cheese, who knew one such word of power. The magic broke the infernal hold on the other members of the Justice League and they charged Neron. Trickster held Captain Marvel back from joining the fray, and told him his plan to stop Neron altogether. Jesse knew Neron could never resist a bargain, so he instructed Captain Marvel to trade his soul for the release of his friends and the Earth. Neron accepted, but was conned by Jesse, who knew his evil could not handle an altruistic wish. Marvel's pure soul had not been tainted by his influence and the selfless request undid Neron's destruction. Though relieved it was over, Jesse was a little cranky that, "I engineered the greatest sting of all time... and no one saw me do it."
Jesse, unhappy with his desk job at the FBI, grew bored and fell back in with the Rogues. He figured that if the government found out, he could claim that he was working undercover. When Inertia gathered them together in a plot to rob the new Flash of his speed, Trickster was among their ranks. However, the others were hesitant about including him, considering his past with the FBI. As a show of faith, he and the Pied Piper tricked a wealthy businessman into wiring his fortune to the Mirror Master and jumping into the ocean. When the Trickster realized that Piper had in fact kept the man from dying and transferred the money to a charity, he blackmailed Rathaway into transferring the money to him instead. Trickster was present at the Getty Center, where the Flash was killed. Although he had not actively taken part in the murder, he knew that he would be considered just as guilty as the rest of the Rogues. Jesse and Piper decided to work together to stay out of sight. He reluctantly went with Piper to the Flash's funeral. However, after a speech by Wonder Girl stressing the importance of capturing the Rogues, the two fled and decided and go their separate ways. Outside, they were shot by Multiplex and Deadshot.
Ultimately Trickster and Piper were arrested and handcuffed together. However, the two escape, but still shackled together, they make their way to Gotham City. From there they are offered partial sanctuary by the Penguin. Unfortunately, Penguin secretly works with the Suicide Squad and turn on the two. Piper and Trickster escaped again and only to be tracked by the Question and Batwoman. Piper and Trickster immediately begin to plead with the two heroes that they personally were not responsible for the death of Bart Allen. Batwoman quickly refuses to believe their innocence and is only concerned with bringing them to justice. The Question however, hears their story at which point Trickster used hand-puppets of themselves and the Flash to illustrate their innocence. Batwoman became furious at the disrespect that Trickster shows, and punches him unconscious. The Question however, believes their story, stating that they are "too stupid to kill time" and decides to let them go.
Trickster and Piper inadvertently made their way to Poison Ivy's greenhouse, and were captured. Deathstroke arrived and decided 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 in which Trickster and Piper hear out from Double Down of lesser and well known villains being disappeared. The three are tracked down by the Suicide Squad. Double Down is captured, but Piper and Trickster fortunately hid themselves with Trickster's makeshift invisibility field. The two then decide to follow the Squad while still using the invisibility field, and attempts to free the other captured villains. Once they arrived at their destination, (Belle Reve), they encountered and free Two-Face, in which they learn from him that the villains are being exiled to a uncharted planet. At first the duo quickly decide to escape and offers Two-Face the chance in joining them, but he declines in a coin-flip. Having steal a vehicle from the prison, the pair then narrowly avoid capture by Deadshot.
Later the two travel on train and after a valiant attempt to save their own lives, and an eventual acceptance of Pied Piper's sexual 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 Mexican desert with his dead companion. As Piper travels across the desert he starts to hallucinate in which that Trickster still talks to him. 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.
- James is a career criminal and skilled con-artist employing:
- Deception: James was able to hide his intentions from Neron himself.
- Charisma: James utilises his personality to put people off guard, conning them with the even the basic scams.
- Prestidigitation: James is a master of misdirection and slight of hand. He switched out Neron's candle for a rubber chicken right under Bivolo's nose.
- Mini-Sub: The Trickster once possessed a brightly colored mini-sub patterned after the style of the infamous "Yellow Submarine" of Beatles fame.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985-86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- The Trickster was considered but rejected for the position of The Fool in the Dark Arcana indicating that he was alive in that distorted version of New Earth history.
- 142 Appearances of Giovanni Giuseppe (New Earth)
- 39 Images featuring Giovanni Giuseppe (New Earth)
- 6 Quotations by or about Giovanni Giuseppe (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Giovanni Giuseppe (New Earth)
- Trickster at dccomics.com
- Trickster (comics) at Wikipedia.org
- Trickster at Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning
- ↑ The Flash #129
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Underworld Unleashed #1
- ↑ Underworld Unleashed #2
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Underworld Unleashed #3
- ↑ Countdown #47
- ↑ The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #11
- ↑ Countdown #49
- ↑ The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13
- ↑ Countdown #44
- ↑ Countdown #43
- ↑ Countdown #27
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #25
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #10
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #9
- ↑ Aquaman: Time and Tide #1
- ↑ Trinity #37