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Art by Peter Poplaski, 1986.
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (April 1963)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Phineas Mason|
|Team affiliations||Tinkerer Repair Shop|
|Notable aliases||Terrible Tinkerer|
The Tinkerer, real name Phineas Mason and sometimes known as the Terrible Tinkerer, is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in comic books set in Marvel Comics. The character has an almost superhuman gift of genius in engineering, able to invent sophisticated gadgets from nothing more than spare parts left over from ordinary household appliances.
Fictional character biography
Phineas Mason is a brilliant inventor and technician who designs advanced weaponry for criminals and sometimes undertakes crimes of his own. As the "Terrible Tinkerer", he runs an underground fix-it shop disguised as a radio repair shop. On at least one occasion, a potential customer gained the inventor's attention by presenting a transistor radio and telling Mason that "I've got a radio that just can't carry a tune". Tinkerer's original scheme involved the employment of a team of petty has-been stuntmen and thugs. They specialized in placing bugs into radios and blackmailing state officials and politicians.
Tinkerer tried to present himself as an alien to confuse his pursuers by leaving behind a mask that looked like his face when he escaped from Spider-Man in a hovercraft shaped like a flying saucer. His next encounter with Spider-Man resulted in deploying the Toy, a hi-tech robot that serves as an assistant and lackey. Toy also helped Tinkerer escape from his hideout when it was raided by the police.
He is known to have created the suit for Mysterio who once worked as one of his alien-suited servants. He created the Scorpion's tail, and much later he was hired by the Kingpin to rebuild the Spider-Mobile to destroy Spider-Man.
He redesigned Rocket Racer's rocket-powered skateboard, designed an armed wheel-shaped vehicle called the Big Wheel, and repaired the Goldbug's bug-ship. He robbed loan companies by using remote-controlled toys until stopped by Spider-Man.
Tinkerer also provided Whirlwind with improved armor and weaponry, provided Diamondback with new throwing diamonds, built the Grim Reaper's scythe-like weapon, and even fixed Grizzly's exo-skeleton harness and grizzly suit.
He has worked for Hammerhead, Beetle, Black Cat, Jack O'Lantern,[volume & issue needed] Owl,[volume & issue needed] the Ani-Men[volume & issue needed], Jester I,[volume & issue needed] and the Constrictor.[volume & issue needed] Since he is a small business operator who works alone (and arms criminals), the Terrible Tinkerer takes precautions to prevent being cheated. For instance, Killer Shrike commissioned Tinkerer to improve his weapon gauntlets. At delivery time, the criminal decided to use them to threaten the inventor and avoid paying. The gauntlets backfired on Killer Shrike, wounding and immobilizing him due to a failsafe the Tinkerer engineers into his products for such situations.
Phineas is forced to work for the Vulture (Adrian Toomes) interested in freeing Nitro from custody. This falls apart when the heroic mutants Rusty Collins and Skids chance upon the situation and defeat the villains. The Tinkerer is arrested off-panel.
His son Agent (Rick Mason) was a world-class spy for the American government and freelance operative. Despite his father and he being on opposite sides of the law, they remained on good terms and met frequently. Tinkerer even aided his son from time to time, and once provided Rick with information about a South American coup. After Rick was seemingly killed in action, a grief-stricken Tinkerer decided to mend his ways while still maintaining links to supervillains to give him information he could discreetly pass along.[volume & issue needed]
In the Secret War miniseries, Nick Fury discovered a link between the weaponry of most of the known technology-based villains in the Marvel Universe and the kingdom of Latveria. Tinkerer was revealed to have received a vast portion of his funding and presumably the resources and technology from which he has developed most of his clients' arsenals over the years from Latveria. This was part of an ongoing "terrorist" initiative fostered by the kingdom's despotic leader Doctor Doom and his minion Countess Luciana Von Bardas.[volume & issue needed]
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents discovered Tinkerer's workshop by using Killer Shrike as a mole. When the agents converged on the workshop, the canny villain detected them. Killer Shrike was struck down by Tinkerer's security systems, and the Tinkerer fled to Latveria rather than face justice.[volume & issue needed]
Frank Castle finds and confronts Tinkerer after a confrontation with the murderous Stilt-Man. Tinkerer begs for death. Not only was his son Rick dead, but Rick's own son perished in the Stamford, Connecticut explosion that heralded the beginning of the Civil War. Without his beloved son or grandson, he became suicidal and continued his work in the hope that both superheroes and supervillains would wipe each other out. Castle stabs Tinkerer in the back, likely leaving him paralyzed.
Phineas, now bound to a wheelchair in Wolverine: Origins #12, has been contracted by the resurrected villain Silas "Cyber" Burr to subject his new body to the Adamantium-Epidermal Bonding Process. Phineas, during Wolverine: Origins #15, agrees to create a "pacemaker" for the ailing Cyber's heart condition, as well as three carbonadium bullets for Logan in exchange for the use of Logan's mysterious carbonadium synthesizer. Cyber awakens from the procedure to discover the deadly radioactive device permanently attached to his chest and that Logan has disappeared with the C-synth. Phineas is last seen in the clutches of an enraged Cyber.[volume & issue needed]
He survived his encounter with Cyber, however, and is seen attending "the Survivors' Guild", a therapy group for survivors of the Punisher.[volume & issue needed] He is later apprehended by Iron Man for ties to a super WMD black market.[volume & issue needed]
During the Secret Invasion storyline, Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm, Franklin Richards and Valeria Richards free him from Prison 42 to help them return to the Earth dimension. It is mentioned that Phineas had retired as Tinkerer, but was imprisoned for breaking the Registration Act anyway. He is initially reluctant to help his old foes, but the resemblance of Franklin and Valeria to his own grandchildren causes him to relent.
It was revealed in Ms. Marvel that Rick is in fact still alive, under deep cover, and killed a deep cover CIA agent whom assisted in Carol Danvers's murder for Norman Osborn in exchange for Phineas's release and a cleared record for Phineas.
Hobgoblin (Phil Urich) later visits Tinkerer to have his gear upgraded so that he can evade the Superior Spider-Man. It is shown that Tinkerer has taken in Tiberius Stone as a secret apprentice as Tiberius gets revenge on Hobgoblin by making it so that Hobgoblin's tech fails him.
Powers and abilities
The Tinkerer has a genius intellect, with extensive knowledge in a wide variety of scientific disciplines. He has a high degree of expertise in the design and manufacture of inventive weapons and devices derived from pre-existing technologies. Tinkerer has invented a wide variety of scientific and technological devices, and often has access to these devices as needed. Tinkerer's advanced age limits his physical abilities, and he possesses no superhuman abilities.
The Ultimate Marvel version of Tinkerer was rendered by artist Mark Bagley to resemble actor Paul Giamatti as per writer Brian Michael Bendis's instructions. This version is Elijah Stern, a former Roxxon Corporation employee who hired Killer Shrike, Omega Red and Vulture (Blackie Drago) to torment his former boss Donald Roxxon as revenge for being fired. This was after he discovered a way to use vibranium as a power source but his plan was discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. and he is given a choice to work for them or die. Elijah chose to work for them, and impressed Nick Fury with a robot that may be the Ultimate version of the Spider-Slayer. The key indicator that he is Tinkerer is when he stated that he merely "tinkers". Elijah appeared commanding the Spider-Slayers to destroy the creature that had formed from Gwen Stacy's clone to Carnage. Elijah showed an evil side when he secretly ordered the Spider Slayers who arrived at Queens. While repairing the Beetle's suit, Stern is 'motivated' accommodate the Ultimate Six weapons as part of Norman Osborn's plot to kill Spider-Man (Peter Parker) by upgrading Vulture's suit and giving a set of blasters and knives to Kraven the Hunter. Prowler (Aaron Davis) later breaks into Tinkerer's lab to blame Stern for bad tech. Tinkerer then gets interrogated by Prowler about Osborn. Confused about the questions, Tinkerer is then killed in cold blood after Prowler realized things about the new Spider-Man (Miles Morales).
The Ultimate incarnation of Phineas Mason is a scientific prodigy at Nursery Two, one of the think tanks of young geniuses sponsored by the U.S. government. The Mole Man kidnapped Mason along with his fellow students with the intention of using them to seed a new underground civilization in Subterranea. With Fantastic Four's help, the Nursery Two students defeated Mole Man. Rather than return to their lives above ground, Mason and his teammates opted to stay behind and start a civilization on their own terms.
In other media
- Tinkerer appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Thom Adcox-Hernandez. This version is depicted as younger and with more hair than his original counterpart. Phineas Mason worked alongside Quentin Beck under the Chameleon's employ until being arrested at the end of the episode. Phineas assumes the 'Tinkerer' identity in the episode "Blueprints". He designed Mysterio's gear and devices. Following Spider-Man taking out Mysterio's android doubles, Mysterio talks with Tinkerer who asks why he made the android controlling the others look like him. Tinkerer tells the Master Planner that everything Mysterio stole has not been found in the warehouse that he was hiding in. Tinkerer later oversees the Sinister Six and works as Master Planner's second-in-command. The Big Man hires Tinkerer in the episode "Probable Cause" to create/upgrade the Enforcers' power suits: Montana's Shocker gauntlets, Fancy Dan's Ricochet suit, and Ox's power suit.
- Tinkerer appears as the first level boss in the Master System version of the first Sega Spider-Man video game. He fights Spider-Man at the end of the Warehouse level, driving a forklift.
- Tinkerer appears in the Funhouse level in the 1995 Spider-Man Animated Series video game, and while he is fought in the Sega Genesis version, he only has a cameo in the SNES version.
- Tinkerer appears as a villain in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by William Utay. This version seems to be more of a protagonist, even though his villainous ways are still shown. In the game, he develops a sonic device in order to fight the alien symbiote invasion after Spider-Man frees him from Ryker's Island since Hank McCoy, Hank Pym, Reed Richards and Tony Stark were unavailable to help with the symbiote invasion. He is transferred from Stark Tower to Wilson Fisk Industries where he mentions that his Sonic Detonator will only work on the Trask Building (as it was made from American steel that was forged before 1940). In exchange for building a Sonic Detonator, Tinkerer requests access to the Wilson Fisk Industries facilities, $25,000,000 in cash, a full pardon, a specific castle in Italy, and a specific girl from his favorite tool calendar waiting by the pool. Kingpin informs Tinkerer that his facilities are at his disposal and will make some calls for the castle and the girl while the full pardon and the money can be given to him by Black Widow. Following Spider-Man's fight against Symbiote-Black Cat, Black Widow informs Tinkerer that his money has been wired and to begin the detonation sequence. After Symbiote-Vulture cuts the data links to Tinkerer's Sonic Detonator upon defeating the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents positioned there, Tinkerer objects to Black Widow calling an air strike since they need the Trask Building intact. In both Black Suit ending, Kingpin tells Black Widow that Tinkerer is ready as she gives a symbiote-controlled Wolverine a mission to bring her Spider-Man dead or alive. In the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions, he has a headquarters by the pier and has also captured and brainwashed Venom. He fights Spider-Man in a giant robot that has a force field. After Spider-Man defeats him, Tinkerer escapes by ejecting from the robot.
- Tinkerer is the main antagonist of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Philip Proctor. He has been supplying Lucia von Bardas and other supervillains with technology. When encountered by the heroes, Tinkerer unleashes some robotic soldiers on them. In the reactor room, Tinkerer attacks the heroes in his Tank-Bot. Tinkerer escapes when his Tank-Bot is destroyed. Tinkerer later pops up in Nick Fury's secret base stating that he might know who is the one responsible for pulling the strings on the supervillains that Iron Man had under control of his control nanites. While Fury and the heroes infiltrated Prison 42, Tinkerer had already left. He is later revealed to be the one behind the nanite hive mind called The Fold. The heroes later encounter him in a Repeater Tower in Reykjavík, Iceland where he attacks the heroes alongside two Fold soldiers (which is when Tinkerer is invulnerable in his personal forcefield until they are destroyed). He managed to escape to the top of the Repeater Tower to jam the Nanite Statis Signal. The heroes make it to the top and knock him out. In the game's Wii version, Tinkerer is references to be supplying advanced equipment from von Bardas to supervillains, but he is nowhere to be found in Latveria. Eventually, Tinkerer comes to Fury's secret base to explain to the heroes that he did the research behind the nanites, and says the nanites have become unresponsive to all signals, and that he needs a pure sample of uninjected nanites. After retrieving the nanites by infiltrating Ryker's Island while Captain America attacks and enters the Negative Zone, Tinkerer is nowhere to be found. Eventually on the tower in Iceland, Tinkerer is fought. He is defeated by destroying supervillain-shaped toys with powers matching their specific villain which causes his control panel to explode in his face.
- Tinkerer appears as a boss in the Nintendo DS version of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, voiced by Jim Cummings in a homage to Sterling Holloway. He uses his fragment of the Tablet of Order and Chaos to power up a machine that creates an army of robots. Spider-Man tracks him down to his lair in an abandoned construction site and destroys his machine. Before Spider-Man takes the fragment from him, Tinkerer gloats that he sold an army of robots to Electro.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #2
- The Amazing Spider-Man #159
- The Amazing Spider-Man #160
- The Spectacular Spider-Man #51
- Amazing Spider-Man #20
- Amazing Spider-Man #160
- Amazing Spider-Man #182
- Amazing Spider-Man #183
- Incredible Hulk #238
- Spectacular Spider-Man #53
- Captain America #324
- Captain America #369
- Avengers #52
- Web of Spider-Man #58
- Fantastic Four #233
- Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1
- The Amazing Spider-Man #369-370
- The Amazing Spider-Man #310
- New Mutants #86 (Feb. 1990)
- The Agent Graphic Novel
- Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #7
- Punisher War Journal volume 2[volume & issue needed]
- Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #3
- Ms. Marvel #37
- Avenging Spider-Man #13
- The Superior Spider-Man #15
- Brucie, Dylan (March 2007). Ultimate Spider-Man. Wizard Xtra!. p. 117.
- Ultimate Spider-Man #90
- Ultimate Spider-Man #97-105
- Ultimate Spider-Man #101
- Ultimate Spider-Man #158
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #7
- Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2