Heh, you're right about that one!
We just played this a week ago. I "won"...but it was a pyrrhic victory.
We were playing the "Carnage" scenario. I wanted to hit the endgame, so I went after a higher point mission. I had Reed in the lead and Sue and Johnny in support. Should be a cinch, right?
We made short work of the lead villain, and I crossed 15 points, which puts the Carnage mission into play and ends the game at the end of that turn. However, because I had been the leader, Doomsie came into play. Hey, the Fantastic Three should handle him, right?
I had the worst rolls EVER. Doom KO'd Reed in record time, completing his final master plan and hitting me for a five point penalty.
Meanwhile, the Marvel Knights were trying to play catch-up, and went after a high-value headline. My rolls were INCREDIBLE for the Trouble Level, I think I had 11 to work with or something crazy like that after Boosts. Even after he reduced it I had plenty to play with.
Juggernaut shows up and just PASTES his heroes. They barely put up enough fight for him to even notice. He of course had help from a fistful of villains played as backup effects. Having tons of Trouble to spend will give you quite a rush...
So the game ends with Reed, Johnny, and Sue in traction, Doom having completed his ultimate master plan, Juggernaut a "Most Wanted" villain tearing through the town, and no one could be bothered to stop the psychopath Carnage during all of this.
And yet...it was a "victory".
That would be like the most screwed up mini-series ever. "Then Doom killed us all and ruled the world, but we were okay with that."
Nice Review!!! (Haven't noticed you around BGG for a while - guess you've been hangin' mostly on Fortress:AT...)
I definitely agree about the "quasi-abstractness" being a plus - If I want tactical/micromanaged superhero combat, there's always Capes and Cowls, Heroes Inc, or Heroscape to scratch that itch...
My biggest hang-up with the game is that it often seems that the actions you'll take come down to a mathmatical equation (looking to threat level reductions, matching up character abilities with the type of crime, calculating what "style" of attack to use against a villan, etc). I realize that most games are like that (i.e. Should I attack province XX, where I have XX armies and the enemy has XX armies defending), but for some reason the game decisions just felt more like doing math homework than playing a superhero board game...
Having said that, I really do like the game a lot. The design team did a great job, and it's interesting to play something that's a bit more "epic" than just superheroes and villans rolling dice to kill each other.