The Illuminati Ball

Cynthia von Buhler. Titan Comics, $29.99 (88p) ISBN 978-1-78773-221-6
Themes of fame, wealth, medical ethics, and animal rights infuse this fantasy of misguided revolution, a graphic novel adaptation of an immersive theater show also created by Buhler (Minky Woodcock). Five strangers gather in a country house in Upstate New York as candidates for initiation into a secret society: the Illuminati. However, it’s soon apparent that their hosts, a collection of masked men and women, are not as they seem. Rather than urbane elites, they are painfully naïve innocents whose misunderstanding of the world dooms their best-laid plans. Their gruesome history as subjects of a mad scientist’s medical experimentation unfurls as they mingle with the candidates, who in turn reveal their characters as they learn their hosts’ secret. With bold black lines and saturated color, the art has the static and iconic feel of stained glass images, heightening the air of near-religious mystery. The story’s origin as a theater piece is well-represented via interspersed song and dance numbers, but it never quite inspires a suspension of disbelief in the reader, and the abrupt ending feels rather pat. While not conveying the same oomph as a live performance might, this elegantly drawn book will still attract fans of burlesque and dystopian visions alike. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/10/2019
Release date: 10/15/2019
Genre: Comics
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