Writer Jonathan Hickman‘s epic X-Men debut continues this week with the release of Powers of X #3. Every issue of both Powers of X and its sister title, House of X, have sold gangbusters, selling out and going to additional printings. Today, in a promotional tweet for the issue, Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski teased that the newest issue in the saga, which already has eight solicited variant covers, will have a secret ninth variant:

Sure enough, a little digging online revealed the difference. The main cover shown on Marvel’s website, by series artists R.B. Silva and Marte Gracia, features new characters Cardinal and Rasputin preparing to square off against a pair of Sentinels.

The secret, previously unannounced variant features the same line art by Silva, but with different coloring by Gracia on the characters, turning Cardinal and Rasputin into familiar characters Nightcrawler and Magik.

Both covers have been floating around online for a while, as what we now know is the ‘variant’ is actually shown on the PreviewsWorld site and elsewhere as the main cover. Where there’s a definite ratio for receiving the secret variant is still unknown, but one retailer I spoke to suggested the ratio was between 1:7 and 1:10, and another retailer with whom I spoke reported receiving four variant covers for 30 copies total ordered, which jives with a 1:7 ratio.

Marvel’s been releasing secret variants on the sly for a little while now. Last year’s Infinity Wars #2 featured a secret, unmasked variant for featured character Requiem (actually Gamora in disguise), while other, more recent secret variants have included books with the exact same cover art but ‘carnegized’ logos in preparation for Absolute Carnage.

If you want to get your hands on the Powers of X #3 secret variant, it might set you back a bit. The issue, which has a cover price of $4.99, has started popping up on eBay with an asking price between $15 and $30, though it looks like only one has sold for $25 so far.

Powers of X #3 is out digitally and in stores tomorrow, August 21st.

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