This Character Needs a Comic: Starscream
Nearly every evil organization in fiction follows the same personnel structure. You have your leader, resident mad genius, a horde of loyal troops... and the one conniving and egomaniacal worm overtly undermining the aforementioned leader in an ill-conceived bid for control. To every Caesar there is a Brutus itching to drive the proverbial knife into their superior’s back, and there is none more eager to see his commander under his heel than everyone’s favorite craven Decepticon, Starscream! Currently in the IDW Publishing series of Transformers comics, Starscream is planning something major—and it isn’t enough for one comic to contain!
Who is Starscream?
During the early days of Megatron’s campaign against the corrupt established order on the Transformers’ homeworld of Cybertron, Starscream joined the Decepticon cause when the faction was in desperate need for troops capable of flight. From day one, Starscream displayed his trademark sycophancy, but this adoration for Megatron and his leadership would be, unsurprisingly, short-lived. In time Starscream found himself becoming Megatron’s personal bodyguard and temporarily abandoned his lofty ambitions for leadership out fear of his leader’s capacity for violence and cruelty.
In the modern day, Starscream and a small cell of Decepticons under his command were ordered by mandate to surreptitiously incite social discord on Earth as part of a multi-phase strategy to conquer worlds. But Starscream, as always, defied orders upon discovering a vein of an unstable —but powerful—energy source dubbed “Ore-13.” Glutting on the stuff, Starscream believed that he was empowered enough to take on Megatron and at last take the leadership role for himself. However, much to Starscream’s dismay, the Ore-13 wasn’t enough to overpower an irate Megatron. As due reward for his treachery, Megatron saw it fit to personally blast Starscream through the mid-section with his arm cannon. Regrettably, this was not the end of Starscream and his delusions of grandeur.
After more colorful misadventures such as his claiming that the Autobot Matrix of Leadership chose him as leader of the Decepticons, Starscream managed to weasel his way into Autobot Bumblebee’s provisional government as one of its decision makers for a newly reborn Cybertron. As of now in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise comic series, Starscream is aiming to run in the Cybertronian free elections for planetwide leadership and pandering to the war-weary, neutral Transformers returning to the planet. To what end is a mystery (for now).
Why He Deserves His Own Series
IDW has been publishing their flagship Transformers series—now currently split into The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and The Transformers: Robots in Disguise—for six years, and, in that time, the one thing that has yet to have light shed upon it (among other things) is a definitive backstory for Starcsream within the IDW continuity. In the animated series from the ‘80s, we learned that Starscream was actually a scientist before joining the Decepticons. But seeing as how the comics are totally divorced from the original source material, it goes without saying this isn’t the case here.
It would be interesting to explore the moments in Starscream’s life that shaped him into one of the most despised Decepticons in Megatron’s thrall. In other words, what made him identify with the Decepticons in the first place? Why does he make it his life’s ambition to have unwavering respect and complete control? And, as bizarre as it seems, what was his societal function before the war broke out on Cybertron? The "why" is, essentially, is what’s missing in such a fantastic character.
But to have a series focus solely on Starscream’s past wouldn’t have the longevity to maintain an ongoing series. That’s why it should also act as a companion title with Robots in Disguise, keeping pace with the events transpiring in the main title. As mentioned earlier, Starscream is taking a page from Citizen Kane and vying for political leadership, but the multiple plots taking place are only bogging down this one’s progression. Placing a second spotlight on Starscream’s political journey and his ulterior motives would allow for even more characterization and even provide the opportunity to traverse the literal and figurative dark underbelly of Cybertron. And while it may seem daunting, it would make for great storytelling to see how Starscream’s past actions influence his overcoming present obstacles. He's made plenty of near-fatal mistakes in his life, and it would be much more plausible that he take steps to not not repeat them. A prudent Starscream: can you imagine?
Would you read a Starscream series?