Calum Petrie reviews The Illuminati Ball…
The Illuminati Ball is an ambitious story about the human condition, greed and tampering with things beyond our understanding. A modest graphic novel by Cynthia Von Buhler and based on the theatrical experience, the story has somewhat of a pedigree. The narrative takes a few turns throughout the book’s 98 pages, twisting and forming into something less of a mystery and more a story about human change and the respect we should all have for our surroundings.
The tale is focused around a group of initiates invited to a meeting of the Illuminati by way of coded invitation. Throughout the evening the guests are paired off with members of the strange organisation and their true intentions for wanting to join are revealed, then the focus changes and splits between the guests and hosts throughout the story.
The pacing is all over the place here, with the length feeling extremely too short to contain the story properly. I could not get immersed in the story and was constantly pulled out by the clumsy delivery of some dialogue and characters acting unnatural. The interactions between the many characters in this book are extremely varied, with most people having somewhat of a story to tell. But the delivery of conversations end up spiralling down a rabbit hole and the original plot is left on the wayside for pages at a time.
The story of The Illuminati Ball is not exactly an original tale, with distrust and deception being instantly recognisable from numerous other sources. A grand tale with numerous large characters did not have enough time to flourish and give the story the telling it deserved in such a small book.
The art within the book is of a certain style; the author and artist Cynthia Von Buhler has obviously chosen to stick to this bright and vibrant character art style, but I would say it struggles to stay in theme with the darker and more sinister elements in the latter half. The art style does remind me of 80’s and early 90’s comics, where we are not seeing the extremely polished works of modern day Marvel or DC. This does reflect the author’s choice to be bold and tell this even bolder story, with the use of interesting characters, masquerade masks and varied background locations.
The Illuminati Ball was not exactly to my liking, but I can appreciate the story that is being told. I would never hate on anyone for having more ability than I have to tell such an interesting tale. The story falls far away from the intriguing title that originally pulled me in, and left me feeling disappointed, a little confused, and not entirely sure about the overall message the book is trying to deliver. Though a protest about animal rights is clear as day through the story’s subtext, the book goes more for a shock factor to scare.
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