By Leroy Douresseaux
September 25, 2011 - 08:49
Rated T+ for “Older Teen”
The cross-dressing, mysterious beauty Lucille leads the Traveling Grand Orchestra. Singing for the masses, this orchestra travels a land infested by people infected with the Guignol Virus, a pathogen that turns people into “zombie dolls” intent on killing humans. Clestite, who masquerades as her late brother, Elestial (“Eles”), is the orchestra’s newest member, playing piano and getting deeper into an ages-old conspiracy.
As Grand Guignol Orchestra, Vol. 4 (entitled Stigmate) opens, the entire orchestra: Lucille, Eles, Kohaku, and Gwindel is on the run after being framed for the murder of Duke Rhodonite. This crisis causes the group to begin to fracture. Lucille can keep the group together or use this as an opportunity to let the members go their separate ways. Before they can disband, they are soon in the clutches of the quartet, Le Sénat, and Lucille begins a quest that takes him back to his dark (really dark) past.
THE LOWDOWN: Although it could be called a “zombie apocalypse,” Grand Guignol Orchestra is a mystery and conspiracy thriller that has elements of the end-of-the-world scenario, zombie apocalypse, bishounen manga, and palace drama. Still, even for a comic book about the walking dead, Grand Guignol Orchestra is still surprisingly violent, gruesome, and bloody. It is so creepy and unsettling that I want to avoid it, but by the end of reading a volume, I really want to start the next one. Calling it gothic or horror really does an injustice to Grand Guignol Orchestra, but calling it excellent is fair.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans looking for highly unusual comic books with a touch of creepy will want to try Grand Guignol Orchestra.