Not everyone knows about Jennika, the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but this artwork proves that she should be a household name.
Everyone knows the four brothers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but a new piece of cover art makes the case for why fans should be equally aware of the fifth turtle, Jennika. This yellow-mask-wearing female turtle is not a sibling of Mikey, Raph, Leo, and Donny, but she is a strong ally with a pretty kick-ass weapon.
In preview cover art for IDW’s upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #138 by Sophie Campbell and Fero Peniche, Jennika and her weapons are on full display. The first of these amazing variant covers is created by Campbell and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and the second is by Taurin Clarke. Both show the fierceness, power and potential of the Splinter Clan’s “older sister. The striking artwork displays not only her weapon of choice—steel claws similar to those worn by Shredder himself—but also her magical powers through her training in Kuji-kiri, or the Nine Cuts.
Jennika Has Earned Her Place Among The TMNT
Jennika made her first uncredited appearance in IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31 and was created by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz. Jenny, as she is most often called, was born a human and was a runaway who grew up on the streets committing petty robbery to survive. Eventually that life led her to joining the Foot Clan, where she was trained as an assassin. Her anger and belief that mercy was weakness made her an excellent soldier under the Shredder, but when the clan was taken over by the Ninja Turtles’ Master Splinter after Shredder’s death, she had a problem with her new leader’s ways of peace and forgiveness. Eventually, the turtles’ father humbled the girl and won her over. Jenny became one of his most loyal pupils and defenders.
Unfortunately this loyalty came with a price, and she was betrayed and stabbed. Jennika was mortally wounded and in a desperate bid to save her life the turtles and their allies used mutagenic ooze to try and heal her wounds. The ooze canister was shattered during a firefight, and Leonardo had to give her some of his blood. The procedure healed her, but it left Jenny forever mutated into the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Since the death of Master Splinter she has taken on the self-appointed role of being the protector of her four younger brothers, a job which requires all her skill and patience. Being trained by the Foot Clan, Jennika wields steel claws, but has been known to wield a single katana as well. She is also taught the use of the power known as Zai, which allows her to cast illusions and takes advantage of her talents as a musician to compose new creations.
Even though she has never appeared in any of the cartoons or movies, the fifth turtle sister is a welcome and awesome addition to the now familiar lineup of the Heroes in a Half-Shell. Jennika has proven herself over and over again to be a worthy successor to the legacy of Splinter and her fellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.