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Don Powers, a former forensic scientist for the Detroit Police Department, spent the latter years of his life as the masked vigilante, The Crusader. Powers devoted his entire life to the eradication of all crime in the "Motor City". Powers carried out his personal crusade against crime in two distinctly different fashions. He adopted the garishly costumed identity of "The Crusader" at night, waging a vicious one man war on Detroit's criminal element. As the Crusader, his crime fighting style was actually deemed to be too violent by the Justice League of America, who rejected his bid for membership. Powers also founded Powers Investigations, a company whose private forensic laboratories aided the Detroit Police Department, with their case load.

Powers began to suffer from diminished visual acuity. His condition deteriorated to the point that he could no longer see well enough, at night, to continue his activities as the Crusader. Powers' solution to the problem was to secretly launch a satellite, into orbit, above Detroit. The satellite was equipped with mirrors that would reflect sunlight back on the city, throughout the night. Despite the satellite's direct causation of an ecological disaster that threatened to see the whole of Detroit evacuated, Powers did nothing to remove his satellite from orbit. As the Crusader, Powers was too invested in bringing down a car theft ring, that he had been working against for years. It was his hope that the bust would be big enough to really put the Crusader on the map, while also allowing him to retire, in a blaze of glory, before he went completely blind. Powers, however, underestimated how bad his eyesight had truly become. On patrol, leaping from roof top to roof top, The Crusader tripped over some telephone wires, and fell to his death, on the street below.

At some undetermined time in the past, while Powers was still working for the Detroit Police Department, he encountered and befriended Aquaman. Powers did not share the secret of his dual identity with the sea king, which was probably for the best, as Aquaman held nothing but contempt for Powers' actions as the Crusader.

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