James West, or Uncle Jimmy as he was universally known, was the Cleverman to the people of The Zone. He had looked after his mob for a long time, and was also well respected by the hairypeople, though he had started to "go off the rails" in the months before his death. He had a business relationship with media mogul Jarrod Slade, using the powers of the Cleverman for Slade's benefit in exchange for money, though he declared he was finished with this after one final deal involving breathing life into the corpse of a young woman.
He chose his nephew Koen West to be the next Cleverman, despite Koen's estrangement from his family, and knowing that his other nephew Waruu had wanted to be the Cleverman since his youth. Not long after, he summoned a Namorrodor to earth and allowed it devour his heart, killing him and passing his power to Koen.