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Review: Bloodshot Salvation #9

BSS_009_COVER-A_ROCAFORT“In the wire-strewn trenches of World War I, witness the true story of a good boy gone bad, as Eisner and Harvey Award nominee Ray Fawkes joins New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire and astonishing artist Renato Guedes for a special one-shot tale chronicling the never-before-revealed history of Project Rising Spirit’s first prototype in nanite enhancement: the indestructible canine weapons unit codenamed Bloodhound!

Before he found his place at Ray Garrison’s side, Bloodshot’s loyal companion learned the depths of mankind’s inhumanity toward brother and beast alike on the battlefields of France. Now, as the Kaiser’s war machine approaches, find out firsthand how a beloved comrade with four legs and a soul full of fury inspired a legacy that still stands after nearly a century!”

Just like it says on the tin, this is a story about the origin of Bloodhound. Effectively a standalone interlude, Bloodshot Salvation #9 takes us back to the World War I where a mad scientist is desperate to help the men and boys on the front lines in the Battle of the Somme by using an unstoppable weapon that could turn the tide of the war  – yup, you guessed exactly what that weapon is: Bloodhound.

Bloodshot Salvation #9 is written by Ray Fawkes with Jeff Lemire who take no prisoners in the depiction of the futility of war, and the chronic waste of life that was the Great War. Although one can argue the necessity of Bloodhound’s origin at this point in the Bloodshot Salvation run, one should not argue that we got the story at all. Especially as there’s a chance that the deeper understanding of the hound and his struggles during the conflict will play into the future issues of the series.

When it comes to the art, Renato Guedes is firing on all cylinders as he delivers an artistic performance that will have you smelling the mud, blood, sweat and fear of the trenches. Guedes uses a lot of earthy tones during the quieter moments of the comic, with the muted browns and greens mixing with the subtle greys to add a palpable sense of foreboding before the colours explode out of the page in a horror of action and carnage.

As an interlude issue you couldn’t ask for any better, because although having to wait one more month to find out what’s happening in the Deadside isn’t the most ideal scenario for the less patient among us, Bloodshot Salvation #9 more than makes up for having to wait. Whether it’s an anticipation building move that will drive some crazy or a cunningly placed interlude to allow more time to finish the next comic doesn’t worry me. This is a beautifully brutal comic with a level of darkness and horror that lies just below the surface as the scientific experimentation is only just beginning for the men who will become Bloodshot.

It’s not a must-read comic in terms of the story, but  you will kick yourself if you miss this wonderful example of sequential art.

Story: Ray Fawkes with Jeff Lemire
Art: Renato Guedes Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.4 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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