Phineas Mason (The Tinkerer)

The latest batch of photos from Spider-Man: Homecoming gave us a look at another villain from the movie, and quite a pivotal one: The Tinkerer, portrayed by Michael Chernus. In the film, Phineas Mason is a genius engineer who works for Adrian Toomes: whatever tool the latter provides, being it from the Chitauri army or from the Dark Elves, he is able to reverse-engineer it to make it even more powerful and to assemble it with other weapons and machines. He’s the one who provides Shocker with his gauntlets by modifying Crossbones‘ ones, and he also gives Montana and other gangsters advanced guns based on Chitauri tech. This version of Tinkerer is considerably younger than the comics’ one, but his role is pretty much the same, albeit the original is much more independent in his business. Let’s see together.

Phineas Mason was born and raised in New York City; not much is known about his early life, apart from the fact that he had a wife, Deborah Watts, and that the two of them had a son, Rick Mason. Phineas was particularly gifted when it came to mechanisms of any kind, and he ran a repair shop, Phineas’ Fix-It. He spent his entire life in his shop, and when his wife died and his son left home, he started feeling lonely with all his clogs and engines. One day, he ran into a Doombot, one of the advanced robots Doctor Doom used as decoys and foot soldiers: this one had been damaged in a battle with a future Squirrel Girl, and was in a pretty bad shape. Phineas took the android in, and used his remarkable skills to repair it. At first, Phineas used the Doombot as a simple assistant, learning much from him about robotic engineering and advanced technology; with time, however, the android increased his self-awareness thanks to the relationship with his savior, and became sentient. Phineas built for him a membrane that could look as human skin, and applied it to the Doombot so that he could look human; he also named him Vincent Doonan, who became his friend and, somewhat, his “adopted son”. In those years, however, the city was starting to be crowded with superheroes and supervillains, a category that Mason came to despise: according to him, they were all reckless and irresponsible kids who had too much power and put everybody at risk. He shared this grudge with Vincent, who supported him for a while… at least until Mason, sick and tired of the increasing number of hero-wannabes, decided to step in and put a stop to what he saw as a menace, ironically becoming a supervillain himself with the name of the “Terrible Tinkerer“. Vincent left him, but Mason was too far too gone with his obsession: instead of changing his mind and coming back to his senses, he built another android, Toy, to replace Vincent and not to feel alone in his crusade. He had but one gift, and he would have shared it with the world… to erase superheroes from the face of the planet.

Albeit old, Mason still was a formidable engineer and a genius inventor, and he debuted on the black market to repair villains’ tools and to create new ones for beginners. At first, of course, the Tinkerer had to finance his new activity, so he started placing bugs in the radios he repaired for politicians and officials, to blackmail them later. Spider-Man eventually found him and tried to stop him, but Mason escaped on a “flying saucer” of his own invention, leaving behind a mask resembling his face to confuse the hero and make him think he was an alien. Spider-Man was ready to intercept him as soon as he came back to business, but this time he unleashed Toy on the hero, gaining time enough to escape. He started accepting jobs from criminals who wanted high-tech weaponry, starting with Quentin Beck, a former stuntman and special effects wizard he built a suit for, helping him become the villainous Mysterio. His skills also made him able to reverse-engineer already existing weapons, and he also accepted a job from the Kingpin, who hired him to retrieve the destroyed Spider-Mobile, to fix it and to use it against its former owner, Spider-Man. He also built a mechanical tail to help Mac Gargan become the lethal Scorpion, and also a rocket-skateboard to allow petty thief Robert Farrell exact his vengeance against Spider-Man as the Rocket Racer. Short time after, as a sign of impartiality, he also aided Jackson Weele in making it even with Farrell by building him a weird vehicle to become the Big Wheel. He made a name helping a number of renowned criminals by repairing their equipment or by building them new one: Black Cat, Hammerhead, Owl, Jack O’Lantern, the BeetleJester, Constrictor, the Grim Reaper, Grizzly, Whirlwind, Stilt-Man, Diamondback, Blizzard, they were all his clients… but such a fame included risks: once, Killer Shriek tried to use his new gauntlets to kill Mason and avoid to pay him, but the Tinkerer activated a fail safe that electrocuted the Shriek and immobilized him. Mason released him only when he finally paid what was due: with a job like this, he obviously was well-prepared to face difficult clients.

Phineas Mason is a brilliant yet malicious man, obsessed with annihilating the “irresponsible” and “dangerous” kids that the superheroes, according to him, are. As the Tinkerer, he’s an extremely brilliant inventor, a genius engineer who masters a number of scientific fields and who’s perfectly able to understand even the work of absolute geniuses like Doctor Doom or Mister Fantastic and to intervene on it to reverse-engineer it. Just as dangerous as he is intelligent, the Tinkerer provides the villains with deadly tech to make sure they use it against the heroes’ plague, but it’s more than likely that, eliminated a threat, he’ll focus on the remaining superhumans… at least, provided that his depressing loneliness doesn’t make him lose his mind first.



  1. […] Phineas Mason (The Tinkerer) […]

  2. […] sometimes has venomous barbs on its entire lenght; people such as Justin Hammer, A.I.M. or the Tinkerer constantly upgrade his suit, so he always gets new weapons and abilities. One of the most […]

  3. […] and Warren, distracted, failed to notice that Parker had gone missing…right in time, as the Tinkerer was trying to steal the Seismic Device. When the senior year was over, Parker went to ESU as […]

  4. […] he asked him to pick a radio from a ridiculously cheap repair shop he had found some days before, Phineas Mason‘s shop. Obviously without suspecting anything, Cobbwell put in motion a series of events that […]

  5. […] but they were still second-rate suppliers, definitely not on par with affirmed geniuses like The Tinkerer. Then, something unexpected happened: while they were in their lab, both Janet and Victor were […]

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