As a character constantly breaking the fourth wall, it makes sense that Deadpool would be the one Marvel hero to notice the trope in pop culture of horses constantly being injured or slaughtered. From one horse in Game of Thrones having its head chopped off by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane after losing a jousting match, to a dead horse being used as a sleeping bag by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant, media sure seems to love mutilating and killing off horses almost as much as it seems to love throwing women in the fridge. Something that certainly hasn’t escaped the notice of the writers for Savage Avengers.
The comedically inclined Marvel superhero Deadpool has never been above making fun of anything and everything in most situations, often drawing on pop culture as part of his absurdity. That seems to be his whole schtick within the Marvel universe: while everyone else stays within the lane of reality, Deadpool has a tendency to channel the meta perspective of his audience in his humor. This is part of what makes him such an interesting part of the Marvel canon. And it’s what makes the film adaptations for his character that have been produced thus far work so well, because he can poke fun at all sorts of media tropes to the entertainment of his audience.
It’s no surprise that in Savage Avengers #17, Deadpool points out the rather tragic trope of horses that often get killed in media. As he and Conan steal some horses, the former quips to his horse that it will most likely get eaten by a monster, though not in vain. Obviously referring to the recurring trope of horses in media constantly getting maimed or killed in the midst of big action set pieces and the like. And no sooner does make this observation than a symbiote dragon comes down and eats Conan’s horse. After which, Deadpool gripes about how people who complain about the “fridging” trope—where women are killed or injured, often to provide motivation for male characters—ought to give a thought to the trope of the multitude of horses that suffer the same fate.
Though it’s played for dark humor, Deadpool does make a rather valid point. And it might seem like a strange thing to fixate on, but it really does seem to be something that happens a lot in media. Much in the same way that a character who gets “fridged” more often than not comes off as clearly being written for the sole purpose of being “fridged,” it could be that horses getting axed off or worse so much is because they’re disposable enough—being that they’re animals and not humans, more importantly, not characters—that they can die off or get hurt left and right to show the harshness of the reality of the story, without having to sacrifice human characters to do so.
The fact that one as observant of tropes as Deadpool pointed this one out in Savage Avengers does, on its own, warrant its discussion. After all, if Deadpool brought it to the audience’s attention with a quip, he must be tapping into something that’s so common and yet taken for granted, not unlike “fridging.” In certain stories, some characters are expected to get killed off for the sake of getting the plot going, and in other certain stories, horses will get slain in the hundreds, sparing the human characters the same fate as they’re the given the chance to get away.