Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika #1 Review - More Than Just a Gimmick
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Jennika was involved in the lives of the TMNT well before she was mutated in the main title. She has mostly been regulated to the background or some sort of side quest but has never really been at the forefront of any storyline or treated as a lead until recently. With this mini-series, everything changes.
What jumped out immediately to me was the art style. Brahm Revel has done some fill-in issues during the main series and was the artist for one of my favorite issues in the TMNT micro-series that came out in 2018. It's a hyper-energetic and expressive style that suits the character considering that she's a ninja. It also works well with action sequences and has a manga slant.
Ronda Pattison deserves special attention in this issue. She does the coloring for the main book but has chosen a completely different look for this series. It's cool and shows off some of her range that we don't normally get to see in the main series. I didn't realize she was the colorist until I went back to do the review. I know the overall style may not be for everyone but when it worked for me as I dug into the issue. Another thing that the art manages to do is subvert expectations. Jennika is a surprisingly dark and brutal character. The only turtle with a potentially darker backstory would be Raph but honestly, Jenny may have him beat. The dark undercurrent is contrasted with the bright colors found throughout the issue. I just reviewed Tim Lim and Mark Pellegrini's Black Hop's Vol: 1 and the color choices had a similar effect on me while reading.
The character is also interesting in that she's had an entire life as a human prior to joining the foot clan, and meeting Clan Hamato. This additional layer makes her a lot more complicated than we typically see from characters in this series, including our heroes. None of the guys have spent any time in prison aside from Jenny and I didn't know that until this issue.
This comic follow's Jenny as she spends time trying to protect the mutants of Mutant Town. Things get complicated as she encounters a Mutant trying to escape the Mutant safe zone. She chases him down and ends up running into Casey Jones and his gang.
It's a tense scene and brings her feelings for him to the surface. Their relationship feels real barring the circumstances. I mean would you date a Ninja Turtles? These elements work and further cement Jenny as a legit character and not just a slick marketing gimmick from IDW.
After the encounter with Casey, she meets someone else from her past that may be able to solve the problem in Mutant Town Permenantly.
This was a really good comic that worked better than I expected. Jenny has a lot of depth that easily rivals any of the characters that have come along in the series. It's no wonder she's a breakout character for the series, great start.