James Bryson grew up along the coast of Nova Scotia. As a child, James was a bright, and all-around gifted child—-he performed well in academic activities, and participated in various sports, always earning the respect of his peers. He was outgoing, fairly popular, and generally considered to be on the fast-track for success; success in life, however, was not to be his fate. His father, a skilled lobster fisherman, turned to work on the offshore oil rigs when the north Atlantic fisheries started to dry up in the early 90s. Because of this, James saw very little of his father, developing an extremely close bond with his mother, Maggie Bryson.
At age 18, while driving with his family to visit relatives in Quebec, a semi truck pulling two trailers hopped the barrier on an overpass and crushed the vehicle in which he was riding. The accident (which triggered James’ powers for the first time) left his mother dead at the scene, his younger sister Amanda paraplegic, and severely injured his girlfriend, Kate Felton; soon afterward, Kate died due to complications in surgery while attempting to repair damage to her airway. James has not been in a romantic relationship since.
After the accident, James became increasingly solitary and reclusive, preferring loneliness to the possible pain of losing those he cared for again. Retreating from his native Canada, James severed ties with his family, and moved to Massachusetts, where he was accepted to Arkham’s Miskatonic University on scholarship. While there, James completed a degree in Physics/Philosophy; during his second year there, he applied, and was accepted, for an internship in the university library. He completed his internship just after receiving his first degree, and was subsequently hired as assistant archivist, on recommendation of university staff. While working for the university, James completed a second degree, this time in Comparative Literature, focusing on Ancient Greek texts. During his third year on the job, James became the new head archivist for the University (inheriting the position after the unfortunate and untimely death of his predecessor, Reginald Bloom) which post he would occupy for several years, until his eventual recruitment by the APSI.
James’ time at Miskatonic revealed a keen talent for digging up information thought lost or inaccessible, and also refined his ability to judge the trustworthiness of a given source of information. Despite APSI-sponsored therapy sessions, James still has difficulty expressing his feelings towards others, often turning to cynicism when a friendly smile would be more appropriate (and more effective). Nevertheless, he has a strong desire to protect others, and has no qualms about putting himself in the line of fire if the situation calls for it (though he would prefer to avert open confrontation where possible).
In his time with the APSI, James has refined his latent talents, which include the ability to form protective barriers around himself and others (in addition to his unusually-strong bone structure).