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

"The Count may be dead, true, but his glorious narcotic lives on!"
—Werner Zytle to the Arrow[src]

Werner Zytle is a crime boss who, after the death of Cecil Adams, took up his mantle and called himself Vertigo. He refined the Vertigo drug and weaponized it, threatening a great number of people, and managing to fight Team Arrow on equal ground.


Working for the Church of Blood

Werner Zytle found his way into St. Walker's Church, where he was among a group of Church of Blood followers who were swarming The Arrow. During the scuffle, Zytle injected the Arrow with some of his own concoction of Vertigo, causing the vigilante to hallucinate after escaping. Following this, Zytle approached the second-in-command of the Church of Blood, Abel, claiming to be worth of the man's time.[1]

Entering the public

After the death of Cecil Adams, Zytle took over his organization, declaring himself leader (and also killing a thug that opposed him) after Vincent Steelgrave was sent to prison. When The Arrow and John Diggle foiled one of Zytle's weapons shipments, Werner secretly placed a tracker on the Arrow, and he and his men later tracked the vigilante to Corrado Italian Bistro, where his civilian identity, Oliver Queen, was dining with Felicity Smoak. Zytle fired a rocket launcher at the restaurant, but Oliver and Felicity survived the explosion.

Later, the Arrow tracked Zytle down. However, Zytle ambushed the Arrow injected him with an upgraded dose of Vertigo, which showed Oliver his greatest fear: himself. The two began to fight and when Oliver began to get distracted by his fear, Zytle used precision strikes targeting the eyes, throat and various pressure points to quickly incapacitate his more skilled opponent. He then prepared to inject Oliver with a lethal dose of Vertigo. However, Captain Quentin Lance came to the Arrow's aid, distracting Zytle long enough for the Arrow to shoot him in the back, causing him to retreat.

Later, that evening, Zytle attempted to blow up Rockets Arena in an attempt to kill his rival crime lords. However, he was confronted by The Arrow and his partner, Roy Harper. Zytle threw a dart laced with Vertigo at the Arrow, drugging him again. Oliver and Zytle fought a second time, but this time, Oliver overcame the Vertigo-induced fear and hold his own against Zytle. Oliver avoided Zytle's precision strikes and managed to knock him down. As the Canary showed up, Zytle attempted to throw a second lethal dart at the Arrow, but the Arrow tied him to the pole with a trick arrow. After his capture, Zytle warned the Arrow that there would always be another to pick up the mantle of Count Vertigo from Cecil Adams .[2]

Escape and fight against Black Canary

After his previous defeat, Zytle escaped. When brought to court, Zytle blackmailed a reporter to inject the US marshal guarding him with Vertigo, causing the marshal to hallucinate and fire wildly at the crowd before getting knocked out by Laurel Lance. During the chaos, Zytle managed to escape the scene. He quickly went into business again and blackmailed the same reporter by threatening his family to lure the Arrow and Arsenal towards him and blow himself up with a bomb vest to kill them. Zytle watched from a car as the reporter committed suicide when confronted by the vigilantes. 

At the docks, Zytle and his crew were confronted by Black Canary, who knocked out a guard. Zytle approached her and threw a dart laced with Vertigo in her neck. As she started to hallucinate, Zytle easily overpowered and nearly killed her. He prepared to kill Black Canary with her own baton when Arsenal and The Arrow intervened and took out his men. Zytle was surprised they were still alive and quickly fled the scene.

Zytle and his men quickly seized a laboratory and forced the scientists to work for them and reproduce the Vertigo. The Arrow and Black Canary broke in and defeated his men. Zytle tossed a chemical to the floor which started a huge fire, forcing The Arrow to save the scientists. Zytle was pursued by Black Canary and he again injected her with his Vertigo. While fighting her, Zytle easily disarmed Black Canary and ended up pinning her against a fence while he watched her losing herself in an inner struggle with her greatest fears. However, Black Canary managed to recover. Catching Zytle off-guard, Black Canary threw him to the floor and brutally punched him repeatedly in the face, knocking him out. Zytle was sent back to Iron Heights Prison.[3]

At some point after Damien Darhk's death, Zytle once again escaped from prison and attempted to fill in the power vacuum in Star City, but was eventually taken down by the Green Arrow.[4]


"I'm Werner Zytle. But you can call me Vertigo.”
The Count's dead!”
“Some things never die. You, for example. It's frustrating. Just means I have to try a little bit harder.
—Werner Zytle and The Arrow[src]

Werner Zytle is a cunning and ruthless criminal who approached situations with a cold, business-like mindset. He aspired to gain power by killing those he deemed competition and threats, including the Arrow. Zytle is willing to do anything to take over the underworld, including killing a thug just to prove a point. Zytle is single-mindedly focused in his mission to make a name for himself and refused to stop his efforts to take out the Arrow, no matter the cost.

Zytle also doesn't care about the collateral damage he causes when taking out his enemies; he fired a rocket at a restaurant full of people in an attempt to kill the Arrow and even tried to blow up even an entire stadium full of people just to kill a few of his rival crime lords.


  • High-level intellect/Expert tactician/Leader: Zytle was able to create straightforward and ruthless plans to take over the underworld by killing The Arrow and any rival crime lords. He managed to secretly plant a tracker on The Arrow and trace him to a restaurant. Zytle was also almost able to blow up the entire Rockets Arena. After his escape, Zytle orchestrated his return to the crime business by blackmailing a reporter into freeing him and killing the Arrow and Arsenal with a bomb. When confronted by the Arrow and Black Canary, Zytle was able to blindside them by starting a chemical fire.
    • Expert chemist: Zytle has displayed proficient knowledge in chemistry. He modified Cecil Adams' original formula for Vertigo and transformed it into a hallucinogen. Zytle also set a chemical fire to try and cover his escape from Team Arrow
    • Explosives expert: Zytle is shown to have skill with bombs, as he was able to nearly blow up a sports stadium with an explosive device and arranged for a reporter to try and take out the Arrow and Arsenal with a suicide bomb. 
  • Expert combatant/Martial artist: Zytle possesses highly advanced martial arts skills, particularly in pressure points. He incorporates precise finger jabs to the eyes, throat, and various other pressure points into his fighting style to quickly disable an opponent. His skills were great enough to contend against and even briefly overpower the Arrow whilst the latter was under the influence of Vertigo. However, Zytle was no match for the vigilante once he overcame the effect of the drug. When he fought Black Canary, Zytle was able to easily defeat her after having drugged her and would have easily killed Black Canary if it were not for the intervention of the Arrow and Arsenal. In their second fight, Zytle was able to once again overpower and disarm Black Canary before pinning her to a fence, only being beaten due to her catching him off-guard.
    • Weapons proficiency: Zytle showed the ability to toss a Vertigo-filled throwing dart with deadly precision, and nearly killed Quentin Lance with one of them. He also stabbed a mobster in the neck with a Vertigo dart in a dagger-like style.
  • Stealth: Zytle was able to sneak up on the Arrow and even shot him with a Vertigo-filled throwing dart before the vigilante was able to react. Zylte was also able to ambush Black Canary and hit her with a similar dart.


Former equipment

  • Vertigo-filled throwing darts: Werner uses darts filled with Vertigo to inject his victims. He can throw these darts with incredible precision straight in their necks. He also uses these darts at close range combined with his martial arts to inject his victims. 



Season 3

Season 5

Season 6


Arrow: Season 2.5


  • Zytle's fighting style seems to be similar to Chinese Leopard Kung Fu, as he uses leopard punches to inflict massive damage on soft targets to quickly disable his opponent.
  • The song Zytle is heard whistling is the orchestral piece "In the Hall of the Mountain King", composed by Edvard Grieg.

Behind the scenes

  • Werner Zytle is based on the DC comics villain of the same name, where he is ruler of the tiny nation of Vlatava. Though of noble heritage, his family lost their fortunes and had to flee to Canada. While there, Zytle became involved with organized crime, using the profits from his illegal activities to finance his return to Vlatava to reclaim his birthright. Though appearing to be a kind and benevolent monarch, he continued to be involved in organized crime, using the alias Count Vertigo.
  • Zytle's modus operandi of causing his victims fear on Arrow is also akin to The Scarecrow, an enemy of Batman.
  • Peter Stormare is no stranger to portraying a DC comics character as he had previously portrayed Lucifer in 2005 movie Constantine (not to be confused with the Constantine TV series adapted from the same source), and voiced Mr. Freeze in the animated series Justice League Action.


  1. "Haunted"
  2. "The Calm"
  3. "Canaries"
  4. "Underneath"
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