WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Venom #2 by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, in stores now.
In Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman's Venom #1, we learned that long before Flash Thompson would become Agent Venom, an entire platoon of soldiers had been turned into a symbiote-wearing strike force in the '70s. This information was divulged to Eddie Brock by Rex Strickland, the leader of this team of soldiers. Strickland revealed that they had been created by the Sym-Soldier Program, an off-shoot of Project Rebirth 2.0.
The revelation was a pretty major surprise, given that it meant the entire history of the symbiotes on Earth was far, far different from what we'd suspected. But these secrets are only the beginning of a larger story. In Venom #2, we learn the identity of the man who was behind this Sym-Soldier Program, and it's exactly who you'd expect to be capable of creating such an enterprise: The original Nick Fury, who was, back then, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a super-spy at the height of his game.
While the program's existence is a legitimate shock, this aspect of the revelation shouldn't come as a surprise -- in fact, it makes a whole lot of sense. Nick Fury has always been a man running many operations, one layered upon the other. He's had a super-secret strike force of Marvel heroes he would send out on black ops mission, he's had an emergency team of new heroes known as the Secret Warriors as a backup in case the Avengers would fall, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The notion that he was also behind a secret project that turned regular men into symbiote-powered soldiers, well, that sounds exactly like the sort of thing Nick Fury would do.
We also learn exactly how Strickland was drafted into the Sym-Soldier Program, offering us additional insight into this particular Nick Fury operation. After being badly hurt during a military mission, Strickland woke up on a table as the Project Rebirth scientists were grafting a symbiote onto him. In the back of the lab, we see an eye-patch wearing figure, with Strickland recalling, "I remember Fury in the shadows. And to this day, I have no idea why he chose me of all people."
While the issue doesn't offer an answer to that particular question, the most likely is that this was all simply circumstantial. Fury chose Strickland simply because he could, because he needed someone with military experience to test the program on, and Rex was already near-death. Fury isn't one to waste any resources -- there is a plan behind everything he does. If Rex wouldn't have survived the symbiote graft, he just would have moved on to the next wounded soldier.
There is no telling how big of a role Fury had in the Sym-Soldiers' mission. Considering that their purpose was to take out people all over the world on behalf of the U.S. government, it's a safe bet that Fury had a say on the team's targets. Whatever the case may be, we might see more of Fury's involvement in the Sym-Soldier Program when Strickland's soldiers star in their own Vietnam War-based miniseries.