by Bejammin2000 and Doc Quantum
Gotham City, June, 1987:
There was a lot that could be said for a good business suit — not good as in a thousand-dollar Italian suit, but good as in off the bargain-rack at Hel-Mart. Sure, they weren’t the best, or a designer brand, but he liked them. They did what they were supposed to do, which was to give him an edge of class that others severely lacked, his half-brother included. He was Mitch Lawton, husband, stepfather, and criminal.
Looking at himself in the mirror, Mitch strapped on his double-shoulder holster, each holding a firearm — his preferred weapon of choice, the Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum. That done, he donned his jacket and adjusted his tie.
“All right, now for the last bit,” Mitch said to himself, eyeing another handgun. Resting his left foot on a chair, he rolled up his pants leg and placed a snub-nosed .38 Special in an ankle holster.
Once downstairs, he had breakfast with the wife and kid. Mitch read the business section as Molly, who was almost a decade older than him, went on about the PTA meeting last night. He even helped his stepdaughter Corrine with her geometry homework. After that, it was a kiss for the wife and a hug for the girl, and he was out the door.
“You sentimental sap,” said a voice to his left.
“Jake, there’s nothing wrong with having a family,” Mitch replied.
The man to his left looked almost exactly like the brown-haired Mitch but was dressed completely in black — black shirt, black pants, black boots, black trenchcoat, and black sunglasses. This was Jake Lawton, who was Mitch’s half-brother and could have passed for his identical twin except for the black hair.
“Whatever. How’s the wife?” Jake asked as Mitch approached him, and they walked side by side.
“She still hates you.”
“What else is new?”
Mitch couldn’t help but shake his head. You really couldn’t pick your family.
The two entered a nondescript car and headed straight uptown to a bank. Outside, they donned stylish masks before they burst through the doors. Mitch was the first to draw his gun and squeeze off a round.
“Everyone, listen up!” he said. “We’re Marksman and Sharpshooter — the Trigger Twins!”
“And at the risk o’ soundin’ cliché,” continued Jake, exaggerating his Southern accent to sound like a character in a John Wayne movie, “this here’s a stick-up!”
Ten minutes later:
“Watch your head.” The cop laughed at his own joke as he banged Mitch into the door frame of the police cruiser.
“Lousy cop…” Mitch muttered. Jake was in the seat next to him, a surly look on his face.
“The Bat-clan is preoccupied, you said.”
“I know, Jacob.”
“JSA is in Europe, you said.”
“Be like Christmas in June, you said.”
“Well, Mitch, ah hope you have a very happy New Year.”
With a sigh, Mitch leaned up to the cage separating them from the cops. “Excuse me, officer. May I have one of my sidearms back? I need to kill the gentleman next to me.”
The car pulled away.
“Darn bullets,” Superboy said, picking another piece of shrapnel out of his costume.
“Aren’t you Kryptonians supposed to be bulletproof?” asked Star Sapphire.
“I am. Doesn’t mean they don’t sting.”
“Oh. Well, let’s get back. The others might be there already.”
And the two were off. Sometimes being late for Junior JSA meetings had its advantages.
Belle Reve Prison, Louisiana, October, 1987:
“Jake, Molly sent me another care package. Got those pink snowball things you like. Want one?”
The Lawton boys — the Trigger Twins, as they called themselves — were lucky enough to be placed in a cell together. They were the grandsons of Floyd Lawton, the original Deadshot, and as brothers with different mothers, they looked after each other. Mitch sat at a desk, going over his finances as if he were at home, while Jake was sitting up on the bottom bunk, catching the wrapped pastry that his brother had tossed him.
“You know how shot to hell our rep is now?” Jake asked, tearing open the wrapper.
“I do.” Mitch didn’t even bother to sigh any longer; he’d heard the same complaint many times over the past four months.
“We ain’t never gonna live this down. Grampa Floyd won’t never let us,” Jake said, his mouth full of cake.
“Kids. I mean, I never even heard of that one chick! Nice legs, though.”
“Jail-bait means nothing to you, does it?” Mitch offered.
Jake just shrugged. “Doesn’t change the fact.”
Mitch shook his head at the comment. His brother would never change.
“Mitch and Jacob Lawton?” A guard approached the cell as the two talked.
“Come with me.”
Commander Steel’s office:
“When I find out who kept this information from me, heads will roll.” Steel wasn’t in a very good mood, having just found out last week that Floyd Lawton’s grandsons had been imprisoned at Belle Reve — for the last several months.
General Steve Trevor shrugged. “We figured you’d try to recruit them.”
“And that’s bad how?”
“Because we have a full plate as it is? We don’t need a pair of trigger-happy gun-nuts? Need I continue?”
“Those are all good points. However, you missed one,” Steel said in a calm voice.
“And that is?”
“I’m the one in charge here!”
Trevor nodded. There was nothing much he could do now.
“I still don’t like them having guns, though,” Arn Munro replied from his position, leaning against the wall. Although Agent Liberty was invulnerable to gunfire, as was Steel, General Trevor was a normal man, albeit artificially young; his days as the mighty Odysseus were now behind him. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Crawling from the Wreckage, Book 3: Reconstruction, DC Universe: Crawling from the Wreckage, Book 4, Chapter 1: Odysseus Unbound, and The Suicide Squad: The Price of Redemption.]
“Why not? They’re being briefed as we speak. They know what’s at stake, and they know that if they try something funny, they’re not leaving here alive. Simple as that.” With that said, the two in question were brought in, carrying firearms.
“This feels just like my own Mag. It’s uncanny,” Mitch said, looking over the gun. “The hell? It is my Mag!”
“Yes. I wanted to make sure that you were to perform as efficiently as possible. Even made sure that you had your trademark weapons,” Steel replied from the seat behind his desk.
“Right. So what’s this ’bout a deal?” Jake asked, quickly getting to the point.
“I run a sort of… work-release program.”
“What’s in it fer us?” Jake asked.
“A full pardon — among other things.”
“Where do we sign?” Mitch said, a little too quickly.
“Now, therein lies the rub. You must first qualify — audition, if you will. I’ve given you each your firearm. I have a deck of cards. Show me how good you are.” At that, Commander Steel took out the cards and tossed them into the air.
That’s all the Lawton boys needed. The air began filling with lead and gunsmoke as Sharpshooter and Marksman set to work. When the cards landed, each corner icon was shot off.
“That’s the best shooting I’ve seen,” Steve Trevor said, amazed at their skill.
“I’ll say,” agreed Munro.
However, the look on Steel’s face was anything but pleased. “That was the most pathetic display I could have expected.”
“What?!” both twins replied.
“Just calling it how I see it,” Steel said, getting up from his deck and picking up a card. “Your grandpa, Deadshot, would have gotten the middle icons as well — by himself, with enough time left to light a cigarette.”
“We’re not Deadshot,” Mitch replied sullenly. “I’m Marksman, and he’s Sharpshooter — the Trigger Twins.”
“Yeah. And since Grampa Floyd went straight again and flew the coop, we’re the best you could hope to get!” Jake added.
Steel sighed. “Then you’ll have to do. Welcome to the Suicide Squad.”
“Wait… the what?!” Mitch said, somewhat livid at hearing the name of the group they had just joined.
Commander Steel didn’t reply, but only pressed a call button on his desk and summoned the guards to take them away.
Back at their cell, the Trigger Twins talked.
“Suicide Squad. Jake, I’m not liking the sound of that,” Mitch said as he paced back and forth.
“Eh. Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to join. I will,” Jake replied from his spot on his bunk.
“No. We’re the Trigger Twins. Can’t be the Trigger Twins if there’s just one of us. Besides, somebody’s got to make sure you don’t end up killin’ yourself,” Mitch replied.
“Don’t mention it.”
Commander Steel never liked to send new agents into the field without knowing everything there was to know about them, in an effort to eliminate unknown elements that could put any given operation at risk. Thankfully, he had already learned quite a bit about Mitch and Jake Lawton, the grandsons of Deadshot, so it was only a matter of finally putting the pieces together along with more recent intelligence in order to complete the full story. It was interesting, to say the least.
Floyd Lawton had been a Gotham City millionaire who decided to become a vigilante and upstage Batman himself. Under the persona of Deadshot, a tuxedo-suited, top-hat-wearing masked man with expert marksmanship, he had succeeded in capturing the public’s attention. But he was also secretly setting himself up as a new crime boss, and Batman soon exposed him for what he was, sending him to prison for five years. (*) It was only after he was released from prison that Floyd Lawton learned he was a father. His ex-fiancée from the mid-1940s had become pregnant with Floyd’s child and had never told him, instead marrying another man. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Man Who Replaced Batman,” Batman #59 (June-July, 1950) and Blake’s Seven: Times Past, 1955: Blake’s Bullet.]
Floyd never had a relationship with his estranged son Eddie, but he did meet his grandsons Mitch and Jake, who were born from different mothers but looked nearly identical, except that one had brown hair and the other black. They had sought him out when they’d each run away from their respective homes at the age of sixteen. By that time the long-reformed Deadshot lived in Boston and had been working as a troubleshooter for the Luna Foundation for several years. (*) He let them live with him for a time as he taught the two boys all he knew about sharpshooting and marksmanship. They were already talented, and both had a lifelong love of firearms, but under Deadshot’s tutelage, they became masters of the gun just as he was. Floyd nicknamed the half-brothers the Trigger Twins after a couple of famous figures from the Old West.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Blake’s Seven: Times Past, 1955: Blake and the Revenge of the One-Handed Man.]
To Floyd’s regret, though, when Deadshot’s two grandsons reached adulthood, they also took after the criminal ways of his youth. Under the names of the Marksman and the Sharpshooter, they quickly became notorious bank robbers and also hired themselves out as mercenaries between jobs. (*) Unfortunately for Floyd Lawton, the Trigger Twins got themselves into big trouble with one of their clients, no less than George Dyke, the Gorilla Boss of Gotham City himself and the father of Vincenzo “Ape-Face” Dyke. (*) Deadshot heard through one of his old contacts in the underworld that the Gorilla Boss was gunning for the Trigger Twins after they’d failed to deliver on an important job.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Dragon Knight: Into the Light, Chapter 11: The Dragon Knight, “The Gorilla Boss of Gotham City,” Batman #75 (March, 1953), and Showcase: Stretch O’Brien: Earth-Two Romance.]
So Floyd Lawton, worried that his only remaining family would soon be killed, rushed down to Gotham City and offered the Gorilla Boss a deal he wouldn’t be able to pass up, in exchange for his grandsons’ slates being wiped clean. The Gorilla Boss, intrigued, agreed to hear him out since the two had been contemporaries. In an alternate world, if Batman hadn’t taken down Deadshot, he might well have remained one of Gotham’s big crime bosses to rival other crime lords like the Gorilla Boss and the Joker. Now Deadshot offered his own services as a hired gun for the Gorilla Boss for several months until the debt was paid in full.
Anyone who knew anything about Deadshot knew that Floyd Lawton had never wanted to be a hired gun and would never have done it just for the money. In fact, Floyd had always held great contempt for Lefty Burkowitz, a henchman with half his talent who had impersonated Deadshot several times over the decades and was willing to do anything for a buck. And now here was the original Deadshot agreeing to lower himself to be a mere hired gun in exchange for complete clemency for his grandsons. Blood truly was thicker than water. It had taken a lot for Deadshot to humble himself to this level and get back into the crime game, not as a boss but as a hired thug. George Dyke considered the idea amusing enough to agree to it.
Thus the Trigger Twins’ debt was conditionally forgiven, while Deadshot began a period of indentured servitude as the Gorilla Boss’ button man. The months that followed were bloody. While Floyd Lawton had never killed anyone during his original brief tenure as Deadshot, his hands became very dirty while working for the Gorilla Boss. It was hard for him not to become jaded, even after a short while. After one particularly dangerous job in March, 1987, Deadshot had to flee up north to the independent nation of Quebec for the next three months until the heat had finally died down long enough for him to come back to Gotham.
By June, 1987, Deadshot’s time as a hired gun was nearly up, but he had one last favor to do for the Gorilla Boss. He had to take a job from no less than the Joker’s daughter herself, Harley Quinn. Floyd Lawton was no fool; he knew he was being set up and would likely be killed by the Joker’s number one guy, Franko Morelli, if he wasn’t careful. It would be a neat and tidy way for the Gorilla Boss to tie up loose ends. Floyd also worried about the Trigger Twins, since with him gone, they might be marked men once more.
So, just before he left Montreal, Quebec, Deadshot arranged for his grandsons to be arrested. He’d had a trusted private investigator keep tabs on their activities over the past few months, and he knew they were about to stage a robbery during a time when the Justice Society of America was in Europe, and the various members of the Batman Family were all out of town on a case. He had the private eye tip off a couple of members of the Junior JSA, and Superboy and Star Sapphire were able to arrest Marksman and Sharpshooter without anyone getting hurt. Once his grandsons were safely in stir, Deadshot returned to Gotham City and did his job for the Joker’s daughter. After a series of miraculous circumstances, Franko decided to let him off the hook, and Floyd Lawton was allowed to walk away without a scratch. (*) With all the blood on his hands over the past few months, and his grandsons safely locked away for the time being, Floyd decided that now was a good time to retire from crime permanently this time. The former Deadshot’s whereabouts were currently unknown.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Tales of Gotham City: Gotham City Stories.]
The Trigger Twins had languished in prison for four months before Commander Steel finally recruited them into the Suicide Squad for this mission against Helstrom Industries. With their intimate knowledge of firearms, they would come in handy if Steel ever found that good reason he needed for targeting this corrupt gun manufacturer.