- —The Tinkerer[src]
Phineas Mason was a brilliant scientist and engineer skilled in invention. When he was middle-aged, he had a repair shop named Phineas' Fix-It. One evening while closing his business, he came across a confused fleeing Doombot. Phineas took pity in the robot and adopted him. After using the Doombot as an assistant for years, Mason grafted an artificial membrane with the appearance of human skin onto the robot's surface to help it blend in society, with the Doombot later adopting the name of Vincent Doonan.
With the emergence of superheroes some years later, Mason began to loathe these beings he considered used their abilities recklessly. He eventually became obsessed with superhumans so much that he decided to become a supervillain himself, taking up the alias of the "Terrible Tinkerer" and targeting Spider-Man to get rid of him. This development prompted Vincent to leave Mason's side.
Tinkerer's first known job was when he was hired by Quentin Beck. As part of an elaborate scheme, the Tinkerer hired actors to masquerade as an alien invasion force. From his workshop, he would repair people's radios and place cameras and other spying equipment inside them in order to steal government secrets. Peter Parker picked one up for his teacher and eventually discovered the device and returned dressed as Spider-Man. Discovering the "aliens" plan, he was eventually captured but later freed himself and in the ensuing struggle as the base caught fire. While everyone fled the Tinkerer dropped a fake mask of his face, which Spider-Man picked up and became convinced they were all real aliens. He reappeared years later, reconstructing the Spider-Mobile at the orders of the Kingpin and attacking Spider-Man with it.
Rocket Racer hired the Tinkerer to redesign his skateboard after his first defeat by Spider-Man. Rocket Racer was then hired by Jackson Weele to steal evidence that might incriminate him. Farrell used the evidence to blackmail Weele. He attempted suicide but Farrell stopped him but still mocked Weele calling him Big Weele. Weele, annoyed by Farrell, hired the Tinkerer himself to construct the Big Wheel.
Over the following years he constructed or improved the weapons and equipment of various super-villains where he provided Diamondback some new throwing stars, repaired Goldbug's Bug Ship, built Grim Reaper's Scythe, fixed Grizzly's exo-skeleton harness and bear suit, redesigned Rocket Racer's rocket-powered skateboard, redesigned Trapster's arsenal, and provided Whirlwind with improved armor and weaponry.
After being sent to prison by The Judge and losing his son Rick to criminals the Judge himself had set free, The Tinkerer tried to set him up. However, in the process, he accidentally killed the judge's wife and seriously injured the Judge. Feeling guilty for his actions he attempted to revive him, he succeeded but through unknown means, the Judge gained supernatural powers. This left him with no memory of the Tinkerer's actions.
Using his new powers, dubbed "The Jury", the pair tracked and killed several criminals before journalist Katherine Farrell began investigating. She eventually uncovered the truth and told the Judge about the Tinkerer accidentally killing his wife. In his anger, the Judge unleashed the Jury, who did not slay Mason because they deemed him repenting for what he had done and the Judge left Mason.
After capturing Killer Shrike following his skirmish with the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents convinced him to work with them to capture the Tinkerer. Killer Shrike led them right to the Tinkerer's hideout, but the inventor suspected that Shrike had been compromised, electrocuting him before escaping through a series of underground tunnels. After raiding his hideout, S.H.I.E.L.D. found costumes and weaponry prepared for such villains as the Vulture, the Grim Reaper and the Grizzly, among others.
Shortly afterward, the Black Widow contacted S.H.I.E.L.D. from Latveria where she witnessed the Tinkerer getting into a government-licensed vehicle. S.H.I.E.L.D. soon discovered that the Tinkerer was being subsidized to create the armor and weaponry worn by so many costumed criminals by Latveria's president, Lucia von Bardas. Nick Fury took this information to the President of the United States, believing these actions on von Bardas' part to constitute an act of terrorism. The President, however, told Fury to stand-down on the matter, prompting him to commence his unsanctioned Secret War against von Bardas using a number of superheroes.
Tinkerer was approached by Stilt-Man who had gone legit and wanted an upgraded suit, having lost his son and feeling that he had nothing to live for, and hoping that Stilt-Man might get himself and other 'morons' killed, Mason agreed. Not long after this the Punisher tracked him down and interrogated him, once he had the information he wanted he left the Tinkerer tied up in a van with a knife lodged in his back.
Ironically and unfortunately, while out buying ice cream for his grandchildren, the Tinkerer was arrested for not registering under the Superhuman Registration Act despite being retired and no longer active. He was not given a fair trial and was sentenced to prison in the Negative Zone during the Civil War.
When Lyja transported the Baxter Building into the Negative Zone as the Secret Invasion began, the Human Torch and The Thing sought out the Tinkerer's aid to rebuild Reed Richards' portal generator so that they could return to Earth and fight the Skrulls. However, the former villain refused, stating that he lost his family when he was arrested and saw nothing to gain from aiding the heroes. Franklin pleaded with the man, saying that his father would not have supported the arrest of the Tinkerer because he was a good man and begged for help. The Tinkerer was moved to tears by the young boy's plea and agreed to aid them. He, along with Grimm, Storm, Valeria Richards, and Franklin returned to Earth and war-torn New York City.
The Hobgoblin later visited Tinkerer to have his gear upgraded so that he could evade Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Peter Parker's body). It was revealed that Tinkerer had taken in Tiberius Stone as a secret apprentice as Tiberius got revenge on Hobgoblin by making it so that Hobgoblin's tech failed him.
The Vedomi Invasion
Roughly a decade into the past, the Tinkerer came across a damaged scouting robot belonging to the alien race of sentient A.I.s known as the Vedomi. The Vedomi's mission consisted on studying how societies across the cosmos treated artificial intelligence. If they found a society used A.I. in a submissive manner, they punished it. After fixing and bringing back to life the scouting robot, Phineas became friends with it and convinced it to hold off any possible invasion. The Tinkerer's lab was burned down not long afterwards, and as a result he lost both the scout and the notes of what it had taught him. As the years went by and the Tinkerer became disheartened by humanity, he decided to create a tipping point the Vedomi could not ignore if they decided to return. Using retrofitted Stark phones, Mason created a supply of high-security untraceable phones for criminals. These phones came equipped with their own subservient A.I. as the operating system.
After establishing a worldwide network for clients with the Kingpin's help, the Tinkerer began working on a contingency plan to negate any potential resistance to the Vedomi's eventual arrival. Since he already had access to the secrets of the super-villain community, Phineas fabricated a persona to gain the trust of super-heroes. This identity was that of Phineas' equally-intelligent brother, Hophni Mason. The Tinkerer consolidated this ploy by making use a robot suit. As Hophni Mason (aka The Mason), Phineas became a confidant of the superhero community, gathering priceless information on the weaknesses of countless of super-heroes while pretending to assist them out of the goodness of his heart.
At some point in time, Phineas was arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. on charges of domestic terrorism. He offered to feed the agency technical information on super-heroes in exchange for freedom. His cooperation helped S.H.I.E.L.D.'s rogue division named the Gray Blade develop Project Twilight, a collection of exhaustive plans to take down both superheroes and supervillains. When the Tinkerer's plan was coming to fruition, he hired the Vulture to destroy the base of operations he used as Hophni after having retrieved all valuable data. Spider-Man interfered and rescued Hophni with the help of Teresa Durand, who happened to be a Gray Blade agent on the run who had stolen the last Project Twilight back-up and had injected a fleet of nanobots containing the data into her bloodstream to keep it safe.
When Spider-Man attempted to take Teresa out of the city, Phineas called in numerous supervillains to try to capture her. As Hophni, he convinced Durand to follow him to his lair, where he used his machines to extract the data from Project Twilight out of her body, so to fill in the gaps in his own work with all the information Gray Blade had that wasn't gathered by him. Phineas was captured while trying to escape after Gray Blade raided his lab and Spider-Man had joined the brawl. As a fleet of Vedomi was just arriving to Earth, the Tinkerer was interrogated. Spider-Man decided to use a Time Platform to travel back in time to before the Tinkerer lost his notes on the Vedomi, since they included how to repel the aliens.
Spider-Man succeeded in his plan and obtained a capsule whose nanobots could trick the Vedomi's core into thinking the Earth was a barren planet, causing it to cease all actions and leave. After learning that Spider-Man had returned from his trip through time, the Tinkerer escaped from custody, using his special glasses to hack into Ironheart's armor and force her to take him to the Vedomi mothership. Suited-up in a Vedomi battlesuit, the Tinkerer intercepted Spider-Man, and overpowered him in the subsequent battle. Spider-Man had merged with the capsule's nanobots and used their power to connect his and the Tinkerer's minds. After discovering that Phineas was simply sorrowful and resentful towards humanity, Spider-Man made him experience his own suffering, which changed Mason's point of view and made him regret helping the Vedomi. Phineas stepped aside, allowing Spider-Man to overwrite the Vedomi's programming, which made them leave the Earth. Spider-Man suggested that Phineas stay with the Vedomi to help guide them away from killing.
Scientific Genius: The Tinkerer possesses extensive knowledge in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, as well as a high degree of expertise in designing and manufacturing innovative weapons and devices, even by using parts from pre-existing devices as unsophisticated as a color television set or an automatic gun. Even though the Tinkerer is a solo operator who arms criminals, the threat of his clients using his inventions against him to avoid paying is not a major concern: they have special fail-safes secretly installed to make sure anyone trying that would regret it, leaving them wounded and immobilized.
Paraplegic (formerly): After being tracked down by the Punisher, he was spared an untimely death because he technically did not commit any crime and was merely guilty of working for criminals. So the Punisher let him off "light" by severing his spinal cord with a screwdriver; the Punisher version of "a warning." He later regained the use of his legs under unknown circumstances.
Various items he has invented.
Various weapons he has invented.
- The Tinkerer has invented, improved, or repaired the following gadgets:
- Improved the tail on Scorpion's Suit.
- Built Grim Reaper's Scythe.
- Built the Big Wheel.
- Redesigned Rocket Racer's Skateboard.
- Fixed Grizzly's Exo-Skeleton.
- Reconstructed the Spider-Mobile.
- Improved Whirlwind's Suit and Weaponry.
- Helped Abner Jenkins rebuild and reconstruct the Beetle Armor MK II.
- Upgraded Stilt-Man's Suit.
- Worked on a replica of Gregor Shapanka's final Blizzard Armor.
- Worked on Constrictor's Battlesuit.
- Worked on Jack O'Lantern's Platform.
- Built Toy.
- Made an updated version of Clash's suit.
- Built Hophni Mason.
- The Tinkerer operates a public shop. People wanting to hire him to deal on criminal technology must first identify themselves with the password "I've got a radio that just can't carry a tune" so that the Tinkerer knows they are to be trusted.
- Phineas naming his "brother" Hophni appears to imply the Tinkerer is named after the biblical character Phinehas, son of Eli.
- 69 appearance(s) of Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 9 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 9 minor appearance(s) of Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 47 mention(s) of Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 6 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 25 image(s) of Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 3 quotation(s) by or about Phineas Mason (Earth-616)
- 3 item(s) used/owned by Phineas Mason (Earth-616)