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After releasing variant covers for every issue of Flash: Rebirth and Blackest Night: The Flash, DC kept going with multiple covers as it launched a new ongoing series featuring Barry Allen.

If you know of a variant Flash cover that I have not listed here, please let me know at kelson@pobox.com. Please include scans or descriptions of both variations. Chances are I only have one of the two, but it could be either.

Flash #1

DC Comics went all-out in promoting the launch of The Flash #1. In addition to the standard cover by series artist Francis Manapul, they offered two variant covers: One by Tony Harris, and an extremely rare variation using an uncolored version of the standard cover. On top of that, DC offered a plastic Flash ring, which could be ordered if retailers purchased enough copies of the book.

Both covers are rather generic, showing the Flash running and references to his police career. The Tony Harris variant was originally meant for Flash Secret Files 2010, where the background images featuring images from the crime lab might have been a better fit.

The issue sold out, and DC released a second printing in August. This cover simply took the original and colorized the background red, as seen with Flash: Rebirth #2.

(Standard and Tony Harris covers via The Source. Thanks to married guy at Comic Bloc for the scan of the sketch cover. Thanks also to Hyperion09 at Comic Bloc for the scan of the second printing.)

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Flash #2

With the second issue, the standard covers start to get more story-related, with the Flash facing a snowstorm and a hint at something odd with the handcuffs around his hand. Ryan Sook’s variant withthe Flash running into a hail of bullets is more general, but would make a fantastic poster.

(Final covers via The Source.)

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Flash #3

Again, the standard cover by Francis Manapul is related (at least somewhat) to the story, while Greg Horn’s cover simply shows the Flash running. It’s hard to tell at this size, but the belt is symmetrical like Wally West’s, rather than straight across like Barry Allen’s, suggesting one of two likely possibilities: Either it was drawn earlier and DC has been working through saved-up covers for the variants, or we’re going to see artists drawing the wrong costume details for Barry for at least as long as we saw colorists filling in the wrong eye color for Wally during the 1990s.

(Standard cover via The Source, variant from the GCD.)

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Flash #4

Not a whole lot to say about these covers that hasn’t been said already.

(Covers via The Source)

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Flash #5

As Brightest Day completed its first act, DC put together a massive image representing the event, and the twelve resurrected characters, inspired by Michelangeo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Ryan Sook drew the seated figures, while Fernando Pasarin and Joel Gomez drew the cosmic scene in the center.

The image was broken up into twelve covers, each used as an alternate for one of the Brightest Day–related books. Captain Boomerang appeared on the variant cover for The Flash #5, while the Reverse-Flash made his appearance on Green Lantern Corps #51. A bit of an odd choice, but with Captain Boomerang actually appearing in that month’s Flash, it made more sense to put him on that cover...and Zoom had to go somewhere.

(Flash covers and full image via The Source. Green Lantern Corps cover via Giant Size Geek.)

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Flash #6

With The Flash #6, we see the first variant cover to be based on the actual story in the issue, with the flash battling the Renegades.

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Flash #7

This issue is a Rogue Profile starring Captain Boomerang. The variant cover by Darwyn Cooke might be a bit confusing, though. As part of DC’s 75th Anniversary series of homages to classic covers, it references the classic Flash v.1 #139...the first appearance of the Reverse-Flash.

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Flash #8

This issue is another Rogue Profile, this time focusing on Professor Zoom. The standard cover focuses on the villain, while the variant features a mirror-image race between the hero and his (metaphorical) evil twin.

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Flash #9

The main cover for Flash #10 is part of a set: Every DC cover in January 2011 had the main character or team front and center on a blank white background with their iconic symbols behind them. At least, that was the plan. The Flash got far enough behind schedule that DC swapped the covers for Flash #9 and Flash #10...and even then, the book didn’t ship until February.

The variant cover was a bit of a surprise as well. The original solicitations mentioned that Scott Kolins would be drawing the alternate cover, but DC instead used a cover by Tyler Kirkham.

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Flash #10

As mentioned above, the main cover for Flash #10 was originally going to appear on Flash #9, until it was switched to better line up the late-running book with a cover theme. DC unveiled an impressive variant by Yildiray Cinar, only to drop it in favor of this Ed Benes cover that treads essentially the same ground as the regular cover, except with Wally and Bart removed.

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Flash #11

Scott Kolins took a very different approach here. This may have also been the variant originally planned for #9. It's kind of unusual that most of the Road to Flashpoint variants ended up being relevant to the story.

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Flash #12

This ended up being the last issue of the series, followed by Flashpoint and the New 52 relaunch. That makes the "Out of Time" slogan and chalk outline thematically appropriate.

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Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

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