Out of the gate, the Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters series from Eric Powell generated a lot of anticipation. When the first issue hit, the reaction was mixed but generally more positive than negative. However, the series seemed to lose its focus after issue three and was left in a uneven state. When Jason Ciaramella took over the series made a notable turn, delivering something that was more likely to please fans of the genre but that generally seemed to disregard much of the framework that Powell was setting up. Issue 12 of Kingdom of Monsters marks the end of the first run before the series takes a break. Sadly, it doesn't end on a particularly high note as this issue works more as an epilogue to the series as a whole, making for an incredibly brisk read that tries to fall back on Victor Santos' art to buoy the concept only for that to fall flat.
In terms of plot, well the world is in ruins. That's really about the basic gist of it. If one has read the preview for this issue, expand that to the entire issue with two page spreads focused on different countries and one has an idea of what they are in store for. There is no dialogue here, just a lot of scenes of various locations across the world, destroyed, with poetic narration sprinkled through out. I criticized Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #11 for being a fast read, but this epilogue takes it to a different level. It's filler, there is no sugar coating it. This might play out better in trade format, but as a single issue there are probably going to be a few readers not too happy with their purchase.
A concept like this might work as a kind of vapid, popcorn entertainment body of work... but for that to pass off the art needs to tell the story, because the narration here is brisk and the artwork is left to its own devices. Santos' cartoonish artwork is an ill placed fit for this, though. While his craft has certainly improved since he first took on the series, and he delivers a very good final page in general (which I won't spoil), the narrative focuses on large city scape shots that needed a lot of detail to make them come across with a sense of the devastation. Santos' loose style, however, makes it feel like background shots, which were meant to only fill the frame for the action in front. With that type of work center stage, the result is generally unmemorable. The San Francisco spread in particular seems to falter, with a dull mishmash of browns and reds that do little to come together as an impressive visage, especially for being spread across two pages.
As for the covers,
David Messina does a decent "main" one. His tracing habits are pretty overt at this stage, reusing his Godzilla sketch from Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #10 and tracing a model of Rodan lifted very obviously from Godzilla Unleashed, but Battra does look impressive regardless out in front and seems to salvage the image overall. As before, though, the more impressive cover here is done by artist Matt Frank for an amazing shot of SpaceGodzilla. This is one of the rare times that the creature has been visually depicted in its flying form, and the drawing is stunning, filling the frame while the white crystals make a great contrast with the creature's out stretched hands and abnormal abdomen. Frankly, one of the better covers done for the series as a whole so far.
Overall, covers aside, this issue is just very disposable. I would be willing to bet that it could be skipped over without losing a beat of the ongoing story. Making a whole issue around the concept of reflection on the prior issues through narration just doesn't come off very well. The concept itself could have worked, but it would have been better as five or so pages after a more satisfying story climax.