Who, or what, are the Heroic Decepticons? How are the Heroic Decepticons heroic, exactly? Are they heroic in the same way that people generally consider the Autobots to be heroic? Are the alignment of the two factions reversed, and the Autobots are now evil? Does making Decepticons heroic mean that they lose that toughness that is normally associated with being a Decepticon? Finally, and perhaps most importantly: what does it mean to be a hero?
Allow me to answer each question in turn.
1. Who, or what, are the Heroic Decepticons?
Let me begin by saying that in the broadest sense, a hero is always aligned to “good” (there’s no such thing as a villainous hero, is there? Or an heroic villain, for that matter). Hence the Heroic Decepticons are “good”, though admittedly the term “Heroic” is rather cliché, in that it is only a very general description of who or what the Decepticons are, and is used primarily to distinguish them from the canonical Decepticons.
The kind of heroism I’m really talking about here is the truest kind of heroism.
The entire basis for the Decepticon cause – it’s whole reason for being – is integrity and honour, and thus it must always exemplify the highest values possible, whether expressed through an individual’s or through the group’s thoughts, words or deeds. This is where their alignment of “good” really comes in. It’s all about embodying personal integrity, which in turn translates to an inner heroism – and that’s really what the Heroic Decepticons are all about – something that is virtually non-existent in the canon – but which is the primary reason for the creation of the Heroic Decepticons. Other than this issue of integrity, everything else about the Heroic Decepticons is as near to G1 canon as possible (though it may also include elements from any other continuity).
2. How are the Heroic Decepticons heroic, exactly?
Other than the character traits I pointed out above – those of integrity and honour – the Heroic Decepticons are heroic in a few different ways. For example, they genuinely care for one another, are completely loyal and show a deep level of trust – not only to one another but also to their cause. Also, whether individually or as a group, their purpose is always based upon the highest values. Oh, and yes, sometimes they do the “hero” thing and save those in need, but it’s never a contrived thing. In essence, the Heroic Decepticons demonstrate their heroism through who they naturally are, and through their leadership, which in turn dictates what they do, rather than the other way around – performing acts of heroism in order to prove to everyone else (or themselves) of their goodness and then revelling in the acclaim (not specifically looking at the Autobots here or anything…).
3. Are they heroic in the same way that people generally consider the Autobots to be heroic?
Well, in all honesty… no, not really. But again, refer to the points above; it’s not so much that they can’t or won’t do what the Autobots do (being the “good guys”), it’s more that they don’t like to be typecast in that way. Again, it’s all about being true to who they are – that thing called integrity – and sharing their truth with others of the same ilk, rather than fitting into a limiting mould that pigeon-holes them into the “perfect super heroes, defenders of the weak”.
Because after all, those kinds of heroes need victims to exist in order to play the hero – one can’t exist without the other. They also tend to have an air of superiority about them (this is very true about the Autobots, have you ever noticed?), while some even need to be praised or even worshipped to feel good about themselves. The Decepticons are definitely not this type of heroes.
4. Are the alignment of the two factions reversed, and the Autobots are now evil?
No. Compared to canon, the Decepticons’ alignment is flipped from evil to good, however only those canonical elements that are necessary to achieve this have been altered for the Heroic Decepticons multiverse and nothing more, which means that the Autobots’ alignment remains unchanged. It’s not a mirror verse, or Shattered Glass.
5. Does making Decepticons heroic mean that they lose that toughness that is normally associated with being a Decepticon?
Nope. I’ve purposely made sure that the characters retain their distinct Decepticon “bad boy” appeal. In other words, they haven’t become Autobots – and never will be.
6. Finally, and perhaps most importantly: what does it mean to be a hero?
This is a question that really needs to be appreciated beyond the scope of the Heroic Decepticons, but I have touched upon a bit of it already. A hero, to most people, is a personal saviour, or someone they admire or look up to (but at the same time see them as better than). However, a true hero, in my view, is not so much someone who saves others in an external sense, but someone who is able to show others, usually through example, that the real hero is the strength and courage found within ourselves, and not in others. The best way to do this is to have integrity. Only by having integrity in oneself, to be able to exemplify strength and leadership rather than victim-ness, is one able to help others realize those same virtues in themselves – the truth of who they really are – rather than highlighting their weaknesses by “saving” them.
But I think more importantly, the mark of a true hero is one who possesses the courage to see the truth, and act accordingly. This is never an easy task because of the ease in which one can be deceived, but also because those who actually do manage to see past all the convincing lies and brainwashing to get to the truth are invariably always vilified, persecuted or attacked in some way. Yet they will always stand up for truth, even when it means having to do so in the midst of adversity, or at the risk of suffering. This is the true meaning of “Heroic” in “Heroic Decepticons”.