Warning: Spoilers ahead for Venom #1...
If you're not familiar, Flash Thompson debuted as Agent Venom back in 2011, thanks to a storyline from Dan Slott. Thompson's Venom was used as a weapon for what was, at the time, a brand new project from the U.S. government, who wanted to build a super soldier using the Symbiote.
Flash Thompson was always known as the very first Agent Venom, but this week's new series changed all of that. In fact, Flash wasn't even close to being the first agent in this project.
In the comic, Eddie Brock and his Symbiote "other" are taken by a man named Rex Strickland. Rex has been searching for Flash Thompson because of his history as Agent Venom, but settles for Eddie since he's the only Venom to be found.
While Rex may have seemed like an enemy at first, he reveals that he's actually an ally, one that has a similar history to Flash and Eddie. The older man reveals to Eddie that he and five of his fellow soldiers were part of an earlier version of the Agent Venom operation, and were all bonded with Symbiotes and sent out on deadly missions. Rex is the only one of the five of them to have gotten away from the project.
The five soldiers were recruited by Project Rebirth 2.0, the same program that made Captain America, to try and create a new breed of super soldier. The way Rex talks about it, it seems as though they succeeded, but the consequences have been devastating.
Venom #1 also reveals that the Symbiotes arrived on Earth long before Eddie Brock first came into contact with one. According to this new timeline, the Symbiotes were here as early as Medieval times, and an actual Symbiote god has been living on the Earth since then.
Written by Donny Cates and illustrated by Ryan Stegman, Venom #1 is for sale now online, or at your local comic book shop.