I’ve been watching Transformers every morning. Who am I kidding? I’ve been watching Transformers for more years than I care to admit. Currently there are two different versions airing, the original G1 series and Transformers Prime. I’ve noticed something.

For some reason, each incarnation of Transformers portrays Starscream as an idiotic, cowardly traitor, a mediocre flier and incompetent in battle.

It leaves me wondering if those who write and produce the different series have ever read about who Starscream is.

Before the war he was Winglord of Vos, a brilliant scientist at the Academy creating many inventions while still a student.  A deep space explorer he ranged across galaxies and was unparalleled in flight. He had deadly accuracy in weapons training, and was well known for his weapon creations, including the null rays which he is most famous for.

Once he joined the Decepticon Army Starscream led his trine to become Megatron’s Elite Trine, while he himself became Air Commander and Second-In-Command of the Decepticon forces.

Why then is he always portrayed as such a coward, idiot and a traitor?

Perhaps his portrayal as a coward is because throughout every incarnation the one thing that is consistent with Starscream is he is afraid to die. As a soldier, as a Decepticon, and Second-In-Command, Starscream is a target not only for the Autobots but his fellow Decepticons. While it would be a badge of honor for any Autobot to off-line the Decepticon Second-In-Command, among the Decepticons it would be their chance to move up the ranks.

His portrayal as an idiot, I think is little more the comic relief. This is sad because it takes so much away from the character as he was originally written. He is not bungling, incompetent, or a mindless idiot. He is sharp-witted, intelligent and very quick to assess situation and see flaws in not only military strategy but weaponry. He is anyways very similar to the Autobot Second-In-Command Prowl, who is renowned in both armies for his intelligence and tactical brilliance.

The last and probably worst character assassination of Starscream is his constant portrayal as a traitor to the Decepticon cause. Starscream is the most loyal to their cause. The one who has betrayed the Decepticon cause is in fact their leader Megatron. When he called for the revolution that led to the Cybertronian war, Megatron’s rallying cry was freedom and equality for all Cybertronians. No longer should Cybertronians be owned as slave and forced to fight in the gladiator pits of Kaon. No longer should the elite few hoard all the energon and wealth for themselves. He argued the Council should no longer be able to rule without question and they should be held accountable to the citizens of Cybertron. Megatron argued the Flyers of Vos should be seen as equal Cybertronians not some strange sub race that were to be feared because they were different and had a different culture.

It was to that cause Starscream and the Flyers of Vos and other Decepticons pledged themselves. And it is cause that Megatron himself has betrayed. He no longer fights for equality or freedom but for universal domination and tyranny. His will and word are absolute and any who disagrees finds themselves on the opposing end of his fusion cannon.

Starscream is unapologetically ambitious. Is this something to be looked down upon or admired? Starscream has never hidden his ambition or desire for power and greatness, either scientific or political. Throughout the different series, his ambition has always been looked down upon and scorned.

Combine all of these factors and Starscream is constantly portrayed as a traitor. But is he? It was Megatron that deviated from the path of his original cause to one of self serving glory and power. Is Starscream truly a traitor if he still supports the Decepticon cause but no longer supports Megatron? Is it wrong for a Second-In-Command to point out obvious flaws in not only tactics but weaponry? For those of us familiar with the G1 series has anyone figured out the reason for Megatron’s giant, flying, purple griffon yet?

Does questioning the wisdom or lack thereof and plans of a leader make one a traitor if those questions are in the best interest of original cause one fights for? Is it better for one to be a devoted, mindless sycophant who obeys without question, even when the chosen path is wrong and will cause more harm than good?

Starscream does question Megatron; call him out on his faults and misguided plans. Yes, he has tried to overthrow and offline the tyrant. His loyalty to the true Decepticon cause puts him at odds with their leader, but does it make him a traitor, or the most loyal of Decepticons?