Leader of the superteam The Champions, Defender is one of the most popular and highest profile heroes on planet earth.
For James Harmon IV, the man inside the Defender suit, heroism almost literally runs in his blood. The latest of a long line of adventurers, Harmon's great-grandfather, the first James Harmon, explored the wilds of Africa. James II was a fearless member of Eliot Ness's "Untouchables" during the Prohibition era, and later became a solo crime fighter well into the late 1930s. Defender's father, James III, earned the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II. He later quintupled the family fortune by turning Harmon Industries into a top-notch defense contractor.
But James IV didn't feel much like a hero. All he really wanted to do was play with electronics and build computers, and he proved particularly gifted in this field. His father had told him since childhood that he was expected to accomplish great things, and for a time James thought that he could satisfy his father's wishes by making a technological breakthrough that would make the world a better place.
The Battle of Detroit changed all of his plans.
Something about that horrific event awakened his slumbering bravery and determination. Someone had to fight fiends like Doctor Destroyer. Someone had to hold the line against the darkness creeping across the world. That someone would be him.
Inspired by the brave heroes he saw fighting in Detroit, James spent the next year of his life building an advanced suit of powered armor. The suit is equipped with the toughest battle armor and the most advanced systems James could design, and fully integrated with an array of portable artillery and energy weapons.
Dubbing himself Defender, James launched a one-man war against the super villains of New York, scoring several early victories. But a defeat at the hands of a VIPER team badly shook his confidence, and Defender decided he needed allies. He packed up his armor and moved to the newly-rebuilt Millennium City.
There Defender announced that he was forming a team of heroes. Gathering his Champions, Defender has launched a crusade to protect the helpless, punish injustice, and save the world from anything that threatens its peace and stability.
The world does not know James Harmon IV leads a secret life as the noble Champion known as Defender. Most people think of James only as a shiftless, womanizing playboy who’s taken his daddy’s place at the reigns of defense manufacturer Harmon Industries, and credit young Harmon’s success to family money, good looks, and natural charisma. But Harmon doesn’t particularly care what people think of James Harmon IV, as long as he is free to do good in the world as Defender. He has recently finished testing a new and improved suit of armor, and is now using it in the field. A servo-musculature system gives him super strength, jet boots allows him to fly, and powerful micro-generators create a multitude of different energy blasts. Micro-computers in his suit control life support functions, communications and protection against environmental extremes.
Defender is absolutely fearless, and will take on any mission to combat evil. He takes his role as a hero seriously, and always acts as a role model. His attitude and achievements have inspired millions, and his charity drives have funded countless causes. A truly noble spirit, Defender's strict moral code prevents him from taking another's life.
Although Defender is a decisive leader and a bold, courageous warrior, he is somewhat shy and awkward socially. He has begun a tentative romance with his mystically-powered Champions teammate Witchcraft, and it may give him the confidence he needs to be more outgoing.