After 35 years, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael are welcoming a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle into the fold.
In TMNT #93, Karai attempts to convince Jennika, Splinter’s second-in-command, to betray Splinter and join him in his fight to control the Foot Clan, a global ring of ninjas. She refuses, and he stabs her, Mortal Kombat-style, with a sword right through the torso. In last week’s 95th issue, the Earth Protection Force — a government group dedicated to eradicated mutant and alien life on earth — is bearing down on the group, as if they didn’t have enough problems.
Faced with a difficult choice, Donatello and Leonardo transfuse Leo’s blood with Jennika’s. It saves her life, but because it contains the same ooze that mutated the turtles in the first place, it also mutates her into a turtle. As she’s a teenager and already had badass ninja skills, Jennika becomes the latest teenage mutant ninja turtle.
In one sense this is good news for Jennika — she’s part of the gang now! In another, it’s probably kind of a drag to start your day as a human, get stabbed, and wake up as a teenage mutant ninja turtle.
Jennika joins Venus, a female turtle seen briefly in a TMNT television series that aired in the late ’90s but absent from the latest crop of comics from IDW.
Jennika’s transformation has been in the works for a while, at least according to one of the artists who worked on the issue.
As the series barrels toward issue 100 — a landmark for any comic series — it will be interesting to see how Jennika fits into the group. Does she become a regular attendee at sewer pizza parties? Or does she understandably grow weary of hanging out with a bunch of teenage dudes and go her own way? Only time will tell.