For other users of the alias, see Vertigo (disambiguation).

"The Count may be dead, 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 found his way into St. Walker's Church, finding himself among a group of Church of Blood followers who were swarming The Arrow. During this kerfuffle, Zytle injected some of his own concoction of Vertigo, so when he got away he began to hallucinate. After this, he approached the second-in-command, Abel, claiming to be worth of the man's time.[1]

Entering the public

After the fall of Cecil Adams, Werner took over his organization, declaring himself leader (and also killing a thug that opposed him) after Vincent Steelgrave was sent off to prison. When The Arrow and John Diggle foiled one of his weapons shipments, Werner placed a tracker on him, and he and his men tracked Oliver to an Italian restaurant where he and Felicity Smoak were having dinner. He fired a rocket at it, but Oliver and Felicity survived and Oliver, as the Arrow, tracked Werner down. However, Werner injected The Arrow with his upgraded dose of Vertigo, which showed Oliver his greatest fear: himself. The two began to fight. When Oliver began to get distracted by his fear Werner used precision strikes targeting the eyes, throat and various pressure points to quickly incapacitate the more skilled Oliver. He then prepared to inject him with a lethal injection of Vertigo. Before he could kill The Arrow, however, Quentin Lance came to his aid, and distracted Zytle long enough for the Arrow to shoot him in the back, causing him to retreat. Later, that evening, in an attempt to kill his rival crime lords, Werner attempted to blow up Rockets Arena. However, he was confronted by The Arrow and his partner Roy. Werner threw a dart into Oliver to inject him again with Vertigo. Oliver and Zytle fought a second time, but this time, Oliver overcame the Vertigo induced fear and hold his own against Werner. Oliver avoided the stunning precision strikes of Werner and managed to knock him down. As Sara Lance showed up Werner attempted to throw a second lethal dart to Oliver, however Oliver tied him to the pole with a trick arrow. After his capture, Zytle warned Oliver that there would always be another to pick up the mantle of Cecil Adams from Cecil Adams .[2]

Escape and fight against Black Canary

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

At the docks he and his crew got confronted by Black Canary who knocked out a guard. Werner approached her and threw a Vertigo filled throwing dart in her neck. As she started to hallucinate, Werner easily overpowered her and nearly killed her. He prepared to kill her with her own baton when Arsenal and The Arrow show up and took out his men. Werner was surprised they were still alive and quickly fled the scene. He and his men quickly seized a laboratory and forced the scientists to work for them. The Arrow and Black Canary broke in and defeated his men. Werner tossed a chemical to the floor which caused a huge fire, forcing The Arrow to save the scientists. Werner got chased by Black Canary and he again injected her with his Vertigo. Fighting her Werner easily disarmed her and ended up pinning her against a fence while he watched her losing herself in an inner struggle with her greatest fears. However Laurel managed to recover, caught him off guard, and threw him to the floor after which she brutally knocked him out and sent him back to Iron Heights.[3]

At some point after the death of Damien Darhk, Zytle once again got out of prison and attempted to fill in the crime vacuum in Star City, but was eventually taken down by the Green Arrow.[4]


Werner is a cunning and ruthless criminal who approached situations with a cold, business-like mindset. He wanted to gain power by killing the competition and threats like the Arrow. It seemed he was willing to do anything to take over the underworld. He killed a thug just to make a point. He later fired a rocket at a restaurant in an attempt to kill the Arrow. He seemed to not care about collateral damage as he was willing to blow up even an entire Arena full of people just to kill a few of his rival crime lords.

His wit was seen in his fight against the more skilled Oliver. He first drugged Oliver to get an advantage. As Oliver began to get distracted by the Vertigo, Werner repeatedly gouged his eyes, struck him in the throat and solar plexus to quickly injure and disable the more skilled Oliver.


  • Advanced combatant/Martial artist: Werner possesses highly advanced martial arts skills, particularly in pressure points. He incorporates precise finger jabs to the eyes, throat and various pressure points into his fighting style to quickly defeat an opponent. His skill was great enough to contend against the Arrow before being beaten. In his first confrontation he managed to swiftly overpower a drugged Oliver. When he fought Black Canary, Werner was able to easily defeat her after having drugged her and would have easily killed her if it were not for the intervention of Oliver and Roy. In their second fight, Werner was able to easily disarm and pin her to a fence, only being beaten upon being caught off-guard.
    • Weapons proficiency: Werner 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.
  • High-level intellect/Expert tactician: Werner was able to create straight forward and ruthless plans to take over the underworld by killing The Arrow and any rival crime lords. He managed to trace The Arrow and almost blew him up. After this he anticipated The Arrow coming for him. He succeeded in beating The Arrow and almost killed him. He was almost able to blow up the entire Rockets Arena. After his escape he even forced a man to act as a kamikaze against The Arrow by threatening his family.
    • Chemistry knowledge: Werner has shown high chemistry knowledge by taking Vertigo and adjusting it from Cecil Adams's formula to making it a hallucinogen. 
  • Stealth: Werner was able to sneak up on Oliver and managed to stab him with a Vertigo-filled throwing dart before he was able to react.


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 neck. 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


  • Werner Zytle is based on the DC Universe villain of the same name. He uses the drug Vertigo to cause effects similar to those which his DC comic counterpart inflicts on his victims.
    • Oddly, the M.O. of causing victims fear is more akin to the Batman villain The Scarecrow.
  • His fighting style seems to be similar to Chinese Leopard Kung Fu as he uses leopard punches to soft targets to cause massive damage and quickly disable his opponent.
  • He uses a first Vertigo-filled throwing dart to inject his opponent and make them suffer from fear. He then uses a second to create an overdose which quickly kills them.
  • 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 Constantine TV series adapted from the same source), and voiced Mr. Freeze in the animated series Justice League Action.
  • The song Zytle is heard whistling is “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg.


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