The Tinkerer (also known as the Terrible Tinkerer) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe with 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. He is the third biggest weapon provider of the gangland (after Justin Hammer and Madame Menace). He has equal abilities to the Fixer.
Tinkerer once tried to present himself as an alien to confuse his pursuers by leaving a mask that looked like his face behind when he escaped from Spider-Man in a hovercraft shaped like a flying saucer. His next encounter with Spidey 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 one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies, Mysterio, who once worked as one of his alien-suited servants. Tinkerer also built Rocket Racer's gear, the Big Wheel vehicle, the Grim Reaper's scythe-like weapon, and even fixed Grizzly's exo-skeleton harness and grizzly suit. He has worked for the Ani-Men, Jack O'Lantern, Whirlwind, Jester I, Diamondback, Black Cat, the Constrictor, Beetle, Hammerhead and the Scorpion. The Tinkerer has never been brought to justice.
Since he is a small business operator who works alone, (and arms criminals) Tinkerer takes precautions to prevent being cheated. For instance, Killer Shrike commissioned the 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.
His son, Rick Mason, also known as The Agent, was a world-class spy for the American government. Despite his father and he being on opposite sides of the law, they remained on good terms and met frequently. The Tinkerer even aided his son from time to time. After Rick was 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.
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. The 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, Dr. Doom and his minion, Countess Luciana Von Barda.
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents discovered the 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 the Tinkerer's security systems, and the Tinkerer fled to Latveria rather than face justice.
Early in the Marvel Knight's imprint of Spider-Man, Eddie Brock sells the Venom symbiote through an auction put on by the Tinkerer.
Frank Castle stabs the Tinkerer in the back, likely leaving him paralyzed. The Tinkerer had actually begged 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.
Phineas, now bound to a wheelchair in Wolverine: Origins #12, has recently 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.
He survived his encounter with Cyber, however, and is seen attending "the Survivors' Guild", a therapy group for survivors of the Punisher.
Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm, and Franklin and Valeria Richards free him from the Negative Zone prison to help them return to the Earth dimension. It is mentioned that the Phineas had retired as the Tinkerer, but was imprisoned for breaking the Registration Act anyway.
In Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #2, there is a Phineas Mason who 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. With the help of the Fantastic Four, the students of Nursery Two 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.
Phineas is scheduled to take on the Tinkerer alias in Season Two.
This Tinkerer is depicted as younger and with more hair than his comics counterpart.