Re-covering – Chap. 5, Act 4, Strip 82

Yeah, with a villain’s demise you should always try and make sure – and falling into a lake of molten lava is a grisly fate particularly easy for a villain to escape from. That’s because the way this works with villains is a bit paradoxical – the more destructive the means of a villain’s death, the less the expectation that there would be a body left to be found, and thus the greater the chance that the villain isn’t dead, after all.

Let’s say the villain is standing at the edge of the roof of a skyscraper as he is shot by the hero. If he falls forward onto the roof, he’s most certainly dead. If he falls backward off the roof, his chances of survival increase markedly – making being shot and falling of a high building less lethal than just being shot alone.

Fortunately, the Professor has a simple way of verifying Dr. Dutchman Fu’s fate, by checking the effects on the timeline with an item he carried along from the original timeline. I think it was first done in Back to the Future, and it’s a really neat idea…it makes absolutely no sense at all, if you really think about it, but it provides such a great way of communicating a really complicated, really abstract thought visually.

And here the result is clear enough: Dr. Dutchman Fu’s heinous plan has failed, as evidenced by a key component breaking down: instead of Justin Bieber replacing the Pope, the Pope has replaced Justin Bieber. Which will have a marked effect on the timeline and all kinds of unforseeable consequences, but it’s almost certainly better than letting Dr. Dutchman Fu succeed.

More on Thurs…uh, sorry, Monday.

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