We are taken back to World War I on the British/German front. The British are getting slaughtered and can't advance. A doctor arrives to the scene with a supposed solution; he has a kennel of technologically advanced dogs capable of recovering from any injury and incapable of feeling pain. Among them is none other than Bloodhound.
Bloodshot Salvation #9 serves as an origin issue for the Bloodhound, and it is a brutal one at that. Jeff Lemire aims to faithfully recreate the British/German front in WWI, complete with brutal slaughter, disease, and nihilistic hopelessness.
That makes it a bit more distracting that the story is centered on a pack of cyborg dogs. The question becomes whether said cyborg dogs detract from the war-is-hell drama. Your mileage may vary, but I'm inclined to say that it doesn't — or at least not too badly.
There are moments where even I had to sit back and reflect on the fact that this was basically a story about Krypto in WWI. Maus famously constructed a Holocaust allegory with mice, so I'm not against animal characters being used to tell as serious story. The drawback here is that the Bloodhound's struggle is unrelated to the war itself; he's merely being told what to do by a master to which he is loyal. There's also the matter of animal experimentation and exploitation the comic oddly glosses over.
In the end, none of this fatal to the comic, and the final product is a good World War I story that happens to have cyborg dogs in it.
Renato Guedes's art is a great boon to the comic too. His work is absolutely astonishing in its ability to convey the horrific events within the book. The texturing, detailing, and depth all create a stunningly lifelike world, making the tragedies within that much more palpable. The color work is brilliant too, faithfully recreating what the setting would look like.
Bloodshot Salvation #9 is, as I said, a solid WWI story that also serves as an origin for the Bloodhound. It's a solid enough read and even gets gut-wrenching in spots. It doesn't really serve to give anymore emotional depth or nuance to the Bloodhound until the very end (I know he's a dog, but these things have been done before), but it is an enjoyable read with beautiful artwork. This one earns a recommendation. Pick it up this Wednesday.