It’s hard to believe that it’s been 35 years since creative duo, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird decided to lampoon the violent, Frank Miller Daredevil run, and other increasingly violent comics at the time with a gritty book of their own. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might have been co-opted, watered down, and sold to toy and animation companies for mass child consumption. But starving artists have to eat occasionally.
In the 35 years since the Ninja Turtles have been around, the Green Machine has been a sturdy and steady empire of toys, games, clothes, food, comics, shows, movies; you name the license, and the Ninja Turtles faces have been slapped on it. In the comics books, for the past eight years, independent company IDW have been bringing the Heroes On The Half-Shell back to their roots in a monthly series, with every issue being written by Eastman. With all kinds of wild mutations and robots that the series has seen in general, the comics’ newest twist might be its zaniest yet - a female mutant ninja turtle. Here are 10 Things You Need To Know About The 5th Ninja Turtle, Jennika.
10 She’s Actually The Sixth Turtle In Total
In the current IDW Comics timeline, Jennika is the fifth Ninja Turtle and first female. Super fans of TMNT know full well that the comic series is forsaking the original fifth turtle - Venus de Milo. Created by Eastman and legendary Haim Saban, Venus was created for the late nineties live-action series, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. While it remains to be seen how well Jennika will be received- Venus is not so adored (for that matter neither is The Next Mutation) by the fans.
9 She Was A Member Of The Foot Clan
Jenny had terribly rough upbringing, which saw her do jail time. While in prison, a female member of the Foot Clan has saved her from a beating.
The woman then trained Jennika in secret but was killed when the two escaped prison. Jenny still found her way to the Foot Clan, completed her training and earned her spot, by murdering the person who killed her friend.
8 She Was Dating Casey Jones
In the new series, Casey Jones’ history is retconned a little bit. He’s from a broken home, his mom passed from cancer and his alcoholic dad likes to thump his kid as a pastime. Until he was rescued by Raphael, and the two were a vigilante duo until the rest of the turtles found them. Casey gets along swimmingly with Jenny and the two are in a relationship at the time of her mutation, so it’s going to be a fun wrinkle in that relationship - how do a human and a turtle date?
7 Debut Issue Already Sells For Over 200$
Comic book character debuts and their issues going up in value go together like chess games between Magneto and Xavier. Jennika’s debut as a turtle is no different.
The issue has been so hot, that IDW has already put out a second printing. There has been at least one instance of the issue selling on eBay for 275$. At the time of this writing, issues of both her first appearance and mutation are selling for about 45$ each.
6 Mellow Yellow
When the turtles first debuted in 1984, they each had red bandannas before turning towards their more colorful looks. Jennika, created by Sophie Campbell had done all sorts of sketches for a girl turtle and the ravenous fan base has already devoured as many pictures online as they can for Jenny’s turtle form, complete with a yellow bandanna, pants, and a hoodie.
5 Splinter’s Chunin
After Splinter took over the Foot Clan, Jennika questioned why they were following a rat. She would test him in combat and be humbled quickly. From that moment on, Jenny had begun to come around to following the teachings of a mutant rat. Heeding her master’s teachings and excelling at them earned her the rank of Chunin; a ninja who is ready to look after and guide other ninjas.
4 Human Origins
With the Foot Clan being the only real family Jenny had ever truly known, she was fiercely loyal to them, even if she wasn’t that loyal to the teachings of Shredder. She still disagreed with Splinter’s unwillingness to kill in cold blood. She would join a group called the Street Phantoms on secret. She’d eventually become Splinter’s Chunin and despite having the occasional disagreement with Splinter, she is still devoted to his teachings and on at least one occasion, fulfilled her duties as a Chunin, protecting young kids and teaching them a few moves.
3 Turtle Origins
How Jenny went from Ninja to Ninja happened pretty quick in issue # 95. It’s part three of the “City At War” storyline. After Jenny is stabbed by a katana, the turtles race with her in tow to get her help. Meanwhile, they’re being hunted down by rival ninjas and the Earth Protection Force. The turtles did all they could to save her, nothing was working. Ok a desperate attempt, they used Leo’s mutated blood. The transfusion worked, but it also mutated Jenny into a Ninja Turtle!
2 IDW Pulled TMNT # 95 From SDCC
While in recent years, the San Diego Diego Comic Con has become a haven for die-hard geeks the world over to check out their favorite stars and see some great upcoming movies and movie trailers - it is still a comic book convention.
IDW was all set to bring the successful TMNT # 95 with them for mass fan consumption. Until the issue blew up like gangbusters. Supposedly, for fear of safety concerns (re: a fanboy stampede), the company decided to not bring the issue to the Con.
1 Weapon Of Choice
Every turtle has to have a signature weapon, right? Katanas, nunchucks, sais, and a bo - every fan worth their weight in pizza knows this. Jenny’s is different. While she’s pretty good with s katana herself, her weapon of choice (and sure to become a popular melee weapon in video games) is a claw. It’s reminiscent of Vega in Street Fighter, or Freddy Krueger, but in a capable ninja’s hands, this weapon is going to make Jenny a worthy member of the team.