Issue #95 of the ongoing TMNT comic book from IDW Publishing finally hit store shelves this past Wednesday and it was kind of a big deal if you ask me. Not only is this the half-way mark with the current story arc “City at War, it’s also a mere five issues away from the one hundredth issue under the IDW banner. An issue that may or may not be paramount to the status of the Turtles, their world, and the comic book as a whole.
While the issue was semi-action oriented, the backdrop and crux of the drama within revolves around a character named Jennika, a ninja within the Foot Clan that has become something of a sisterly friend to the Turtles, and a serious love interest for Casey Jones.
Having been a part of the ongoing series for almost fifty issues, Jennika has had an incredible arc that has seen her go from cold and calculating assassin to a heroic friend and caregiver. She has learned humility as well as humanity when she was forgiven by Splinter for attempting to take his life; and she has made it a point to remember her broken past/home when her loyalty is called into question by the series’ (arguably) main antagonist Karai.
But then this happened…
…and now everything may be subject to change.
Thanks to a killing blow dealt by Karai, Jennika was in dire need of medical attention that just was there. Long story short, Jennika is mutated into a humanoid turtle. Saying that this is a massive curveball that no one saw coming, is a bit of an understatement.
Take gender out of it, take away the inevitable and obvious comparisons to Venus de Milo off the table, that fact that there is a fifth turtle is a major addition to this book. Not since a failed attempt at a fourth live-action film and an infamous television show have we even gotten a glimpse of a fifth turtle and not without decent reason. Introducing Venus will make a certain type of fan drop the book without a second’s glance and legally, IDW may not be able to use the character of Venus as she is a creation of Saban Brands.
But while everyone is talking about the impact of having a fifth turtle, I’m wondering what IDW will do with Jennika’s character. Will she be an angry, violent being who blames the Turtles for turning her into a “freak”, or will she fins solace in the fact that she is still alive, which is almost always better than being dead, right? Whatever happens, I am seriously digging the brass balls on IDW and the TMNT creative team over there. This is a huge risk with obvious baggage that, if navigated poorly, could sink a great character that readers have grown to care about over the last fifty issues.
No matter what happens, thank you Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Sophie Campbell and everyone else at the creative team.