- In my lucid moments, I wish I could be healthy. Depressed, I am a danger to myself; manic -- I am a danger to everyone else. I do not wish to kill myself but I might not mind dying. Perhaps now you can see the attraction that something that calls itself the Suicide Squad might have for me.
- -- Count Vertigo src
Count Vertigo first appeared in Star City, where he attempted to steal back the jewels his parents had sold when they escaped to England after the war. The victim of a hereditary inner ear defect that affected his balance, Vertigo had a small electronic device implanted in his right temple that compensated this problem. Tinkering with the device, Vertigo learned he was able to affect other people’s balance as well, distorting their perceptions so that they literally could not tell up from down, an effect known as vertigo. This would bring him in conflict with the heroes Green Arrow and Black Canary.
He would later come to join the Suicide Squad in exchange for a shortened prison sentence, and it was revealed that he was plagued by bipolar disorder. After the Suicide Squad disbanded for the first time, Count Vertigo was captured by Vlatavan rebels, who wished to use his powers to overthrow the current Vlatavan government. They used a variety of drugs on him, each with a differing effect on the Count, as he would for example suddenly see himself as an Angel of Vengeance, sent to wreak havoc on the current rulers. Although he largely believed himself master of his own will, his mood swings were completely subject to his captors.
He was captured by Poison Ivy when the Suicide Squad came in and resolved the conflict and Kaligari (then-ruler of Vlatava) was murdered. Count Vertigo was Poison Ivy's slave for a long period of time, during which he grew to hate Poison Ivy and frequently threatened to kill her when he was free of her control. Amanda Waller was able to free Vertigo of her control so that he could stop a group of missiles hitting Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem at the behest of the villain Kobra.
Vertigo succeeded, and it turned out that as he went into rehab and expunged the chemicals that had been pumped into his body by both Ivy and the rebels, that he was unwittingly cured of the disorder that had plagued him for so long. This was something he found hard to deal with and he approached Deadshot, one of his teammates, hoping that Deadshot would be willing to end his life.
In the meantime, he was also approached by members of the Vlatavan government, who sought to see Count Vertigo reclaim his rightful place as ruler. He declined, stating that he was not fit to rule at this point, as he was not even sure if he wanted to live or die.
Although willing, Deadshot warned him to think it through, because Deadshot would not hesitate, and Vertigo had better be sure this is what he wanted. The running subplot would ultimately culminate in the last pages of the first volume of the Suicide Squad, in which Deadshot and Vertigo stood across one another, Deadshot ready to kill him. Count Vertigo realized that this was ultimately an indirect suicide, and that would ruin his chances for the afterlife. Deciding for now that he would deal with the disease that now indirectly plagued him, he walked away from the duel.
Vertigo also resolved his grudge with Poison Ivy. During the War of the Gods crossover, he was perfectly willing to let her die when he found her abandoned on an Amazonian island. Still, Ivy was saved, and Count Vertigo would later reluctantly work alongside her in the Suicide Squad, leaving their grudge be.
The destruction of Vlatava
Ultimately, Count Vertigo did return to his homeland in order to ensure that he would once more become the country's rightful ruler. While his forces were at war with the government's army, the Spectre appeared, and already unhinged, was horrified by the slaughter that occurred. In a fit of rage he deemed the entire country and its inhabitants to be full of sin and decided to cleanse it, leaving behind only Vlatava's president at the time and Count Vertigo.
Grudges and a new Injustice Society
Working for the American government for a while, Count Vertigo eventually sought out his old enemy Green Arrow and after the two had a fight, Count Vertigo decided to leave the vendetta behind and focus on more positive prospects, getting his life back on track. Afterwards he showed up as a member of the new Injustice Society. He still maintains contact with various government agencies that employ metahumans.
Secret Society and One Year Later
Count Vertigo has been seen among Lex Luthor's ranks in the Secret Society of Super Villains. He was one of the members that Deathstroke summoned to Gotham City to aid Black Mask on his war against Red Hood. Vertigo failed the mission after Batman attacked Hyena with a piece of Vertigo's cape, causing Hyena to turn against him.
He appears "One Year Later" in the revamped Checkmate title as part of its regular cast as the White Queen's Knight under White Queen Amanda Waller. He is later seen capturing the Rogues responsible for the murder of the Flash, alongside a new Suicide Squad comprised of Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang (Owen Mercer), Plastique, Multiplex and Deadshot.
- Vertigo Effect: His "Vertigo Effect" has long since been internalized. He uses his power to disrupt his enemies' balance. Vertigo uses his power to disorient his opponents as well as to disrupt the aim of gunmen, snipers and the like. His ability is also capable of disrupting guidance systems on missiles, vehicles and detection systems of all kind (lasers, cameras, pressure sensitive floor plates, infra-red, thermal and night vision). His effect does not just disrupt balance physically but emotionally too, such as forcing physically stable enemies to experience extreme fear or rage.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Being raised in a noble family, Vertigo was trained in classical martial combat and the sports of boxing, He has also been trained in judo and general karate. Upon joining Task Force X and Checkmate, he learned other hand-to-hand combat skills.
- Technological Reliability: Count Vertigo had cochlear implants installed as a small child. If his implants are damaged or absorb frequencies too high for them to process, he is unable to use his Vertigo Effect and experiences crippling pain.
- Magnetic Boots: Count Vertigo also wears magnetic boots with which he can walk walls or ceilings.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985-86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- Count Vertigo has admitted to being a product of royal inbreeding.
- 105 Appearances of Werner Vertigo (New Earth)
- 39 Images featuring Werner Vertigo (New Earth)
- 6 Quotations by or about Werner Vertigo (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Werner Vertigo (New Earth)
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