|“Getting Ahead and Staying Ahead”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||19 April 2007|
|View the comic|
Roy's heroic act of defiance has a practical effect on V's life and future world events.
- Panel 1
Roy battles Xykon mid-air on the Zombie Dragon.
Xykon: I don't know about you, but I'm starting to wish there was a radio or something in this thing. All this flying around in circles is getting boring.
Roy: Maybe if you fought more and complained less you would...
- Panel 2
Roy: Wait—we're flying in circles?
Xykon: Ellipses, really.
Roy: We're headed back out toward the battlefield???
Xykon: Pretty much.
- Panel 3
Roy: Land the dragon!
Xykon: Um, no.
Roy: Land it now, or I'll—I'll—
- Panel 4
Xykon (off-panel): Or you'll what? Hold your breath? Cry? Does little fighty-wighty wanna cry?
- Panel 5
Roy beheads the Zombie Dragon with a single stroke of the Greenhilt Sword, "SHFLCCKT!!"
- Panel 6
Xykon: What the hell did you do that for?
Roy: Now you have to land the dragon, or it will keep flying forever and take us both away from the battle.
- Panel 7
Xykon: Listen, genius, it's a freaking zombie. I control it mentally. It doesn't need ears to hear my commands or eyes to see where it's going.
Xykon: If I want it to turn left and then climb, it just does.
Xykon: Hell, even the reins were there just for show.
- Panel 8
Xykon: So your big heroic display of defiance right there actually managed to accomplish no practical effect whatsoever.
- Panel 9
Down at the breach in the Azure City wall, the head of Zombie Dragon comes crashing down on the Death Knight with a "THUNK.", killing it. A stunned Vaarsuvius stands nearby.
- Panel 10
Xykon: Absolutely no effect at all.
- The title, "Getting Ahead and Staying Ahead", is a common cliché in business and career development. Here it is turned into a pun regarding the Zombie Dragon's head.
- The effect of Roy's zombie dragon decapitation is enormous, if one assumes the death knight would have killed V. Had that occurred, the impact on black dragons and the Draketooth Family cannot be overstated, not to mention the impact on the future efforts of the Order of the Stick and their quest to stop Xykon from releasing the Snarl. V is not with any other party members, having run off from the rest of the party in #424, so there is no guarantee that Haley or anyone else would have found the body after the battle, making a resurrection by Durkon unlikely.
- In #504, Vaarsuvius describes this strip as "a thinly veiled deus ex machina".
- This is the final appearance of General Chang, the valiant Azurite General killed by the Death Knight. He first appeared in #413.
- This is also the final appearance of the Death Knight, one of the Xykon Decoys, who first appeared in #426.