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For other uses of the term Vertigo, see Vertigo (disambiguation).

"I'm Count Vertigo, and I approve this high!"
—Cecil Adams[src]

Cecil Adams[1] (October 31, 1981[2] - November 20, 2013), self-styled Count Vertigo and formerly known as The Count, was the dealer and creator of a drug called Vertigo. He received his original nickname because his first customers, or "victims", were left with a mark by the injection of the drug on their neck, shaped like a vampire's bite. Cecil was killed by Oliver Queen as the drug dealer tried to murder Felicity Smoak. Werner Zytle would later take up his mantle under the name "Vertigo".


Born on October 31, 1981 as Cecil Adams, the man who would one day be known as Count Vertigo entrenched himself in the underworld of Starling City. To perfect his prize project, the Vertigo drug, Cecil kidnapped at least 56 people, mostly prostitutes and vagrants, before injecting the experimental drug in them with his signature double-needle syringe. The corpses would be found with a double puncture marks on their neck. Cecil was given the nickname "The Count" in reference to the fictional vampire Count Dracula.[3]

Rise and fall

After perfecting his drug, Cecil was able to give it a wide circulation in the The Glades.[4]

When the Hood found out that his sister had been dealt Vertigo, he headed out for revenge. Cecil sent his men out to slow down the vigilante. However, in the end, the Hood gave him a taste of his own medicine and injected him with considerable amounts of his own drug, an amount doctors have never seen anyone live through before. He was strapped to a gurney and wheeled off into a hospital, declared insane.[3]

Dr. Webb tried to take the mantle of the Vertigo crime lord for himself.

Later on it was revealed that Dr. Webb, who was in charge of treating Cecil as a mental ward patient, began selling Vertigo on the street, framing Cecil Adams for it. He intended to fake his patient's escape from the mental hospital, and used Cecil's kidney report to reverse engineer the Vertigo drug. He also upgraded the original formula. His plan failed when the Hood found Cecil in the basement and was told by Dr. Webb himself that Cecil was not sane, and unable to run any sort of criminal operation. The Hood did not kill Cecil instead sending him back to the mental hospital.[5]

Revenge and death

Ultimately, it was revealed that Cecil recovered from his overdose on Vertigo, and was sent to Iron Heights. He escaped from prison during The Undertaking. It is revealed that Cecil let Barton Mathis out, another criminal that likes to kill his victims with a liquid, and dress them up as pretty dolls.

Count Vertigo threatening Felicity.

Six months later, he returned calling himself "Count Vertigo". Once again, he put Vertigo out on the street and poisoned almost the entire city with it, by using flu injection vans throughout the city. He even managed to infect Adam Donner and John Diggle. Felicity Smoak, the person that found his delivering method, was taken hostage by Cecil when she came to investigate. He was able to put the pieces together, and figured out that Oliver Queen is the vigilante. Cecil called Oliver from Oliver's office at Queen Consolidated, and informed him that he abducted Felicity.

Count Vertigo dead.

After Oliver arrived, he tried to talk Cecil out of harming Felicity. When Cecil threatened to inject Felicity with Vertigo, Oliver killed him with three arrows to the chest, which caused him to fall through the window where he landed on top of a car parked next to the building. Cecil Adams' death caused many to believe The Arrow has started killing people once again, an assumption that was proven wrong. Soon, it is revealed that Cecil was sent to kill the Arrow by Sebastian Blood.[6]


Werner Zytle continued the legacy of Count Vertigo.

Due to a lack of leadership in his criminal organization, Cecil's mantle was soon taken by another crime lord under the moniker of "Vertigo", Werner Zytle. Zytle tinkered with the Vertigo formula, which reveals the face of one's greatest fear. As the new Count Vertigo, Zytle defeated other members of his criminal organization and started spreading the drug along with means to affect great masses of people with it, while at the same time attempting to kill the Arrow himself using the new drug.[7]


"What do you want?"
"World peace and personal satisfaction. Though not necessarily in that order.
Oliver Queen and Cecil Adams[src]

Cecil was psychopathic, sadistic, ruthless, unreasonable, who took great pleasure in seeing individuals suffer, but after he was injected by his own drug Vertigo by the Arrow, he became a shell of his former-self. However, when he returned as "Count Vertigo", his personality was restored.


"Detective, he's dangerous. Don't underestimate him."
Webb to Quentin Lance[src]
  • High-level intellect: Cecil was known to be very smart and was one of the fewer people to deduce the connection between Oliver Queen and The Hood, eventually discovering that they're one and the same.[6] Cecil was very proficient in chemistry and biochemistry as evidenced by him being able to develop Vertigo on his own with minimal resources.[3]
  • Skilled hand-to-hand combatant: Cecil was a proficient hand-to-hand combatant, able to briefly hold his own against the Arrow and land a punch on him; but he was quickly bested and injected by his own serum.[3]


"You want the the pain to end and I can do that with Vertigo."
—Cecil blackmailing his victims of Starling City into taking Vertigo[src]
  • Double syringe: As the Count, Cecil carried a distinctive syringe with two needles filled with liquid Vertigo. He could stab victims in the neck or chest with it and force the vertigo into them. The vertigo would inflict effects ranging from disorientation to severe pain.[3] After escaping prison and setting up a new enterprise, he demonstrated the ability to kill a person merely by stabbing them in the shoulder. The overdose would take effect in mere seconds.[6]
  • Handgun: Cecil often carried at least one pistol on hand. He used it in his last skirmish with Oliver Queen until he ran out of bullets.[6]



Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 5

Season 7


Arrow: Season 2.5


  • Cecil was the first foe Oliver Queen killed after he vowed to stop killing.
  • Cecil was 5'11" and weighed 180 lbs.[2]
  • Cecil being born on Halloween is a nod to his monikers being taken after Count Dracula, a popular figure for the holiday.
  • John Diggle considers Cecil's first alias, "The Count", worse than that of Oliver Queen's first alias, "The Hood".[3]

Behind the scenes

  • In the DC comics, Count Vertigo, whose real name was Werner Vertigo, had the ability to disorient his victims using a chip planted in his skull, which is manifested in Arrow as the drug called Vertigo. In The New 52, the event that rebooted the DC Universe in the DC Comics, Count Vertigo's new name was Werner Zytle.
  • Before "City of Heroes"—the Season 2 premiere of ArrowSeth Gabel stated that despite the Arrow promising not to kill his foes, the chance of the Count's death wasn't impossible.[8] The Count was finally killed in "State v. Queen".
  • According to Gabel, his performance as Count Vertigo was based on Batman's greatest foe and archenemy, the Joker.[8]
    • Cecil's immunity to his own drug as well as his expertise in chemistry are allusions to the Joker as well. In the comics, Joker is known to be solely immune to his self-designed poison.