Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Villain Profile: Count Vertigo
Count Werner Vertigo first appeared in World's Finest #251 (July 1978)in a Black Canary story "the Vertigo Version" by Gerry Conway with art by Trevor Von Eeden and Vince Colletta.
Count Vertigo suffers from an hereditary, congenital birth defect- a problem of the inner ear causing a loss of equilibrium or feeling of vertigo. To counteract this, a special, medical prosthetic was developed for him which sends sonic pulses to his brain, restoring his sense of balance.
Before taking up a career as a super criminal, Vertigo tinkered with his implant, modifying it so that, by pressing the device (located in his right temple) it sends signals out instead of in and creates-rather than negates- a sense of vertigo.
In his first appearance, Count Vertigo uses his powers in an attempt to steal back his family jewels,which were sold off after his family fled the Soviet occupation of their homeland at the end of WWII.
He is foiled by Black Canary:
In his next appearance, World's Finest #252 (September 1978), Vertigo has cast in his lot with Green Arrow and Black Canary's foe the Stinger. Stinger has hired Vertigo to capture Green Arrow while stinger's men round up Black Canary. When Stinger reveals his plan to exterminate his foes, Count Vertigo proves squeamish:
The Stinger's death trap (which involves sharks!) fails and Vertigo and Stinger are rounded up by Green Arrow and Black Canary who are now wearing earplugs and thus are immune to the Count's power.
The Count surfaces again in Green Arrow #2 (1983). He seems to have overcome his squeamishness about killing as he is now a hired assassin.
After a stint in the Suicide Squad, Count Vertigo once again crosses paths with the Emerald Archer in Green Arrow #22.
Vertigo, now a government operative, is obsessed with Green Arrow. Unable to perform his job until he confronts his old foe once more, Vertigo calls in some favors and tracks Green Arrow to Starfish Island, the place where he learned the skills that he would later use as Green Arrow.
When Vertigo finds his arch-enemy, Green Arrow is hallucinating from large quantities of jellyfish toxin he was envenomed with on his swim to the island. A fight breaks out:
Vertigo is defeated in a hand-to hand fight and is dragged to shore. Feeling he at last has closure, Vertigo treats Green Arrow's infection and departs to resume his work for the Suicide Squad.
While never an "A-list" villain like the Joker or Lex Luthor, Count Vertigo has stepped outside the bounds of the printed page on occasion, making a modified guest appearance on Batman: The Animated Series:
Oddly, he was dressed in all gray and used an eyepatch, but hey, Count Vertigo!
More recently, Count Vertigo appeared more true to model in DC Showcase Presents: Green Arrow:
Personally, I view Count Vertigo as Green Arrow's arch-nemesis. Apart from the Clock King, he was (apart from Merlyn the Archer) the only recurring costumed villain created entirely for Green Arrow until the last decade. There have been newer villains like Onomatopoeia and the Brick, but most of Green Arrow's rogues gallery seem to be loaners from other heroes (Riddler, Catman, etc.).
I will say this though: No offense to Trevor Von Eeden; I know that the concentric circles on Count Vertigo's chest are supposed to represent the sonic waves emanating from him, but it just seems like a bad idea to confront Green Arrow with a huge bullseye on your chest. :)