Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika #2 Review - Being "Woke" will never make your story better.
Jennika has been dragged by many in my circle as being a "woke" SJW character. I pushed back against the criticism because the character has been given a fairly deep backstory. She's also been a fixture in the series dating back to the earliest days.
That changes in this issue. This plot is flimsy at best and an obviously "Woke" sub-plot derails the entire issue making it one of the most disappointing TMNT comics I've read since IDW started publishing the line.
Jenny meets up with her Ex (Silas) who seemingly has knowledge of a cure for the Mutants currently being sequestered in Mutant Town. Due to their past relationship and Jennika's underlying want to be human again she allows herself to be manipulated into a plot to obtain the cure.
This part of the story could have been compelling but the Ex is obviously shady which makes Jennika look less competent as the story goes on.
The real problem with the issue is that mid-way through the comic there is an altercation between Jenny-Silas and a pair of obviously far-right gun-toting beavers. Silas breaks into their establishment which causes the pair to begin firing into the crowd and spouting hateful rhetoric against mutants. Jenny steps up and stops the shop owners from killing innocents caught in the crossfire of the exchange. What this scene effectively does is cast the shop-owners into a negative light which makes no sense in that they were the ones being vandalized.
The characters are an obvious analog for how the Left views Right-wing conservatives and supporters of the second amendment. Due to the blatantly political nature of the exchange, it serves to alienate anyone that not on the left side of the issue. Even worst, the scene could have played out the same way without the rhetoric and got the same point across. The whole scene is just weird.
There is also a really cringy sleepover scene added on as a backup story. The backup features all of the female characters introduced in the main series since issue #100. The segment is brief and offers little in the way of entertainment value. I also think it's worth noting that the women all describe what they do for fun and what's described is far more interesting than what we get in the segment.
The art for this issue is slightly more polished than the first issue. I got the impression that Bhram had more time to complete this assignment and the linework benefits from it. It's not enough to salvage the SJW nonsense but there is a notable improvement in the art direction.
Aside from the gripes I still would like to see how the story ends. The TMNT side stories tend to loop back into the main series in some capacity and I'm a bit of a completionist when it comes to this series. I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge the disappointment I had in this issue though.