Name: James Maxwell
Notable features: None
Occupation: Bureaucrat, illegal arms dealer
Likes: Tea, knowing everything that goes on in his home, rare things
Dislikes: Being bested, women in general, being told no
Skills: Advanced rhetorical and analytical skills
Born Julian James Maxwell, one of a prostitute's identical twin sons, Maxwell has always been a cunning, power hungry person. As a child, he convinced his twin brother, James Julian, to commit suicide so that he could ask God in person to help their diseased, impoverished mother. Maxwell then took his brother's name and identity, and several years later, following his mother's death, he began working for the leader of the crime syndicate for which his mother had also worked. Over time, he came to realize that his boss, Thomas Heins, was his father, and he would eventually murder Heins and take over the syndicate, blaming the assassination on a fabricated rival gang.
During his college years, Maxwell met Ashe, who engineered his entrance into the city's political arena and helped him in his assassination of Heins and his take over of the man's black market business. Though Maxwell was initially opposed to Ashe's meddling in his life, he soon came to think of the other man as a friend and an invaluable asset to his business and political ventures, as well as to his life in general.
During his rise in the public eye, Maxwell met and married a woman, Nirvana, who would later give birth to his son Julian. Maxwell's family, publicly happy and well-adjusted, was privately a mess: Maxwell isolated his son from his mother so that she wouldn't have what Maxwell considered to be a negative influence on the boy. Over the years, Maxwell had a number of affairs, generally with female members of his house staff; in this way he fathered Phineas, whose paternity Maxwell kept a secret from all but a few people, and whom he "adopted" at the age of five. Shortly after Phineas came to live with them, Maxwell murdered Nirvana, a crime he went unpunished for due to Ashe's machinations, thereby cutting his sons off from any real role models other than himself and Ashe.
When Julian reached adulthood and decided to leave the family home, Maxwell, afraid that his elder son might create problems for his image and career, willingly helped him to establish a new identity as Julian Vaughn, allowing James Jr. to fall off the face of the earth. In general, he behaves as though his elder son doesn't exist and that he only has one son, Phineas. Though Maxwell has high hopes for Phineas as his heir, he recognizes that his son has learned to be just as cunning and manipulative as he himself is, and so realistically he knows that his hopes will probably come to nothing in the end. Despite this, he still works to push Phineas's development in what he deems an appropriate direction, and this obviously does not include weeklong forays into No Town or making friends with the questionable characters who live in that area.
When he became aware that the Surge was tampering with his surveillance and other records, Maxwell decided that the vigilante needed to pay for his tampering. Though he initially suspected Rabbit of being the culprit, he was proven wrong on this count and ultimately used Phineas to build a device that would allow him to catch and hold the real vigilante. In this way, he met Surge and, while holding him captive in his estate, came to think of his one-time enemy as a friend of sorts. At the very least, Maxwell likes having such a powerful man as an ally rather than as an enemy.
Though he was initially disinterested in Julian's sudden disappearance, his son's rescue by a man who looked unsettlingly like Ashe pulled at what little paternal instinct Maxwell has. For this reason, when Phineas disappeared shortly after Julian's recovery, Maxwell decided not to retrieve his son a second time, for once respecting Phineas's wishes to do as he likes.
• Julian and Phineas's father
• Is Ashe's long-time employer and friend
• Occasionally hires Rabbit, who he knows through an old business associate, to do technical work for him
• Abducted and then became friends with Surge
• Met Riyad and Cross when the two came to negotiate for Surge's release
• Abducted and questioned Ethan to discover what had happened when Phineas disappeared
First appearance: Book 1, chapter 2