There's some interesting developments in this issue, but overall it mostly feels like a simple transition issue that just moves the story along without much for itself. I was extremely intrigued going into this arc, a dimension where the rules of magic are outlawed? Awesome. The previous cover made me picture a weird tron-like world where nothing worked right, and even the transformation of the team and the odd flow with Zatanna last issue set up a world where magic is twisted into something different. But this issue makes the whole world feel less like that, and more, just, a world where science outlawed magic. It just feels like a generic high-tech world that forbids magic, not much of an explanation as to why everyone's magic turned on them, and so they just have to learn how to get by with their magic acting off. And that's what they do, they fight like it was any other threat. It just feels less wild and unique as it initially did.
Mikel Janin's artwork is as excellent and fitting as usual, the wild loose magic looks beautiful, and the various bursts of energy we see are brilliantly executed. The Infernal Core's flames look radiant amidst the dark background, Deadman exploding in an ectoplasmic cage looks epic, and so on and so forth.
As great a twist as it was, it was a little odd for The Books of Magic to be, in reality, a portal to this magic-devoid world. But with the tale of The Hunter, we're given an explanation for why the books appeared to be the source of magic, and why Timothy was the one destined to use them; although it does kind of contradict Madame Xanadu's vision of John Constantine using them to ravage the world in an alternate future.
The end of the issue is pretty cataclysmic, it creates a lot of tension, but at the moment it feels a bit forced. It's not exactly certain why this is going on, but the next issue could certainly provide a reasonable explanation. It's just that the way this issue ends, I feel like Lemire and Fawkes needed to ramp up the tension, raise the stakes beyond the lives of Tim and Zatanna, so they just threw in a world destruction event.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
Lemire's whole big arc leading into this was amazing, but right now this arc is feeling a lot less original than when it began. It feels kind of generic, despite the interesting little bits. The transformations of the characters, the big scale destiny, the wild design; there's lots of unique little touches to the world, but the overall story feels like something we've seen plenty of times before, and not really doing much to escape that mold in the core, just in the decoration.