The Trickster

Real Name: James Jesse
Profession: Reformed Criminal (If anyone could turn this into a profession, he did.)
Technical Advisor to the Institute for Hyper-Normal Conflict Studies
First Appearance: FLASH No. 113


Despite being thoroughly insidious and incorrigible, or perhaps because of it, the Trickster is probably my favorite regular character in the series. A special effects man/stuntman himself at one point, James Jesse embarked upon a criminal career with the aid of tricks, as it were, he invented during his Hollywood employment. And does he ever have a lot of them! Don't ask me where in his outfit he hides his inflatable ducky or his rubber chicken blow torch but suffice it to say, he has them.

Perhaps his greatest invention, as well as the one he uses the most, are a pair of anti-gravity booties -- yes, I said booties -- which give him the limited ability of flight. One shoe makes him go up, the other makes him go down. You get the idea. But he can also project himself in different directions and walk on air if he wishes. He's really rather maneuverable and a lot more agile than he seems. Agility, together with his unique brand of cleverness, make the Trickster a truly wiley foe. Luckily, he likes the Blue Devil.

Dan Cassidy's first encounter with James in his Trickster guide took place in FURY OF FIRESTORM No. 24, in which James attempted to steal the Blue Devil costume only to be defeated by your hero and mine, the Blue Devil himself. He escapes at this point, but not before Dan figured out that the Trickster and James Jesse were one and the same. He questioned James about his turn to a life of crime, but James, who had been at this crime thing for some time by this point, seemed roundly unrepentent.

Trickster and Blue Devil

James would show up again later on in the series as a recovering villain now attempting to go straight, though like an alcoholic without a reliable sponsor, he experienced the occasional relapse. Enter the Blue Devil...

Tricky feels a certain loyalty to the Blue Devil for saving him, on numerous occasions, from Bolt, a hired assasin who got his money from Doctor Neemish to acquire Trickster's' shoes. (If you want to know what that was all about, check out BLUE DEVIL No. 9.) And would you believe that Dan Cassidy actually feels a certain loyalty to Jesse? I suppose there exists some sort of code amongst stuntmen. Anyway, the two actually grew to become pretty good friends over the course of the series. Although Dan probably wouldn't want to own up to it, he and Sharon were about the only two people in the world who believed in James when he needed it. And if you want to get philosophical about it, and why wouldn't you, James also believed in the Blue Devil.

So what did Mr. James Jesse do in his spare time when not doing something illegal? Well, among other things, he worked with the professors of the Institute of Hyper-Normal Conflict Studies in their monitoring and training of the Kid Devil, a.k.a. Gopher. Think of James as a kind of tutor in the art of...I don't know, deviltry? And from time to time, Tricky would use his reformed criminal racket to procure lecturing gigs at colleges, universities and other institues.


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