By Mark Millar (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Dean White (colors)

I never know what to expect when I crack open this book and that’s what makes it such a compelling read. Perhaps the only staple that remains constant is knowing that Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. will treat us to a visceral feast of violence and dizzying action – it’s just a matter of when it’s going to happen. In this latest issue, we get the insanity out of the way right off the bat and what’s left is our hero, Dave, dealing with the potential consequences.

Once again, Dave wrestles with the moral implications of where he’s been and what he’s witnessed. He knows quitting would be the right thing to do, but with more mysteries (or should I say mysterious heroes) being unveiled it’s hard for him to hang up the costume. These two new characters, Hit Girl and Big Daddy are no joke. They’re hardly bonafide heroes, but more deranged vigilantes. What they do to the gangsters they encounter is merciless and disgusting. Oddly, they come off like a much more hardened Batman and Robin (from The Dark Knight Returns).

John Romita Jr’s art is on par with his usual excellence. It’s not as strong as his work on Amazing Spider-Man #569 that came out this week, but its certainly stands on its own. And while Dave is increasingly reminding me more and more of a young Matt Murdock from Romita’s Man Without Fear mini-series, the general style and designs for each character is fresh, grounded, and unique. Things do get a little “too” superhero-y when we see Big Daddy and Hit Girl jumping from rooftop to rooftop, but that’s fine. I can deal. Another thing that struck me is how the art seems to be turning away from its more realistic look and towards an almost more cartoony style. Am I the only one who sees this? It’s a bit odd that this week’s offering of Amazing Spider-Man looks more grounded in reality than Kick-Ass. But hey, maybe I’m just seeing things.

As much as I find these new characters disgusting, I couldn’t help but oogle over the carnage they inflict. And the hilarious last sentence uttered by Hit Girl on the final page literally made me spit my drink out at McDonalds. Well played, Millar. Well played. (Grade: A-)

– J. Montes

P.S.: Hey Millar, if you’re reading this, send me an email. I want to interview you (it won’t let me PM you on your message board)!