What I liked:
It has a good action/dice system. Mechanically, I feel this game is very solid. That, and I noticed Jeff Grubb in the forward and Matt Forbeck's name in the design credits. Forbeck is one of my absolute favorite writers/game designers.
The book delivers exactly what it says in the blurb on the back cover (page 2 of the pdf) with one exception. You get an awesome set of rules. The rules cover most situations in the Marvel Universe. You get a really great adventure! The Event system seems like it's going to work very well in the future if this first round is any example. It has a really outstanding set of datafiles. The character coverage is superb for the characters that were included.
Here's the exception: "When dozens of villains are sprung from the maximum-maximum security prison known as the Raft, who's going to stop them? You are." This statement was featured prominently in much of the advertising I've seen for this book as well as on the back cover. One of the first things I expected to see in this book was a large section entitled "Character Creation." I was very disappointed when I didn't see it.
I've played several superhero rpg's over the years. The absolute top of my list, the first rpg I ever played, TSR's old Marvel Superheroes RPG. The Advanced Set and The Ultimate Powers Book are still to this day, 28 years later, one of my favorite parts of my gaming collection. I was so very excited when I saw this new incarnation of Marvel, being led by a TSR alum. I expected to see more creativity encouraged in this book.
Now, back in the original Marvel RPG days, when you picked up a module, you had the option of playing a pre-existing Marvel character included with the module or you could play one you made yourself. Yeah, it's cool to play Cap, Wolvie, Thing, Spidey or even the Hulk, but what made Marvel, and makes most rpg's special, is playing a character you created yourself. I'm concerned for the success of this book and this product line because I think players are more in their comfort zone with a character they came up with on their own. There are a lot of other games out there from other companies that don't have the advantage of a rich, fully (overly) developed universe, setting, and pre-existing characters. I don't feel the new Marvel encourages me to make a character of my own.
The only other drawback I see to this game, and it's minor, is the lack of pregenerated characters. I realize the characters given are for the event. We are told other events will have other characters. A superhero rpg lives and dies by the characters. Again, with Marvel, the advantage is a gigantic catalog of pre-existing heroes and villains with rich story lines and backgrounds already written.
In the future, I'd like to see stats for the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, and Hawkeye. The villain stats I'd like to see comprise a much, much larger list. I don't know if I have the patience to wait five or six events down the road to have stats for Dr Doom, Magneto, Red Skull or Ultron.
I'd also like to see a slight escalation of power levels. They've done a great job carrying the more "human" characters like Cap and Spidey. The system seems really well-suited to them I noticed it seems like the designers are carefully avoiding things with really huge power levels, which is maybe why Thor hasn't made an appearance yet. I'll be curious to see how something scary-huge like Galactus is handled.
The best thing this game line could do in the future is put out two books- one with Hero Datafiles and one with Villain Datafiles. That, or I'm hoping the "Advanced Rules," since this is listed as the Basic set, will start with character creation and focus on player-generated heroes, with the old Marvel iconic characters available on the side. Maybe they'll even pave the way for a book that details powers, sfx and an increased power level in sort of an "Ultimate" way.