In the pages of their ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, IDW introduced Jennika. She’s a new female member of the team who will be wearing yellow and wield multiple weapons.
Jennika was first introduced as a human female in the pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51. A Foot Clan loyalist, Jennika rejected Splinter’s leadership of the Foot Clan following Shredder’s death. She even went so far as to attempt to defeat Splinter in one-on-one combat. She is bested by Splinter and eventually selected by the ninja teacher to be his new chunin within the Clan. Thus, she becomes an ally of the Turtles and even a love interest to their long-time ally Casey Jones.
Will Karai Sway Jennika?
In the current storyline, Jennika is confronted by Karai, who attempts to sway her loyalty from Splinter back to the Foot Clan. Upon her refusal, Karai stabs Jennika and mortally wounds her. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #95, the Turtles and their allies attempt to heal Jennika with the same ooze that initially created the Turtles. After Metalhead ambushes the team and destroys the ooze supply, Donatello moves to “Plan C” by providing a transfusion of ooze-infested blood from Leonardo to Jennika in the hopes of finishing the healing process. The transfusion is successful and Jennika springs back to consciousness. But, there’s a massive side effect: Jennika has been transformed into a Turtle.
When Jennika officially joins the team, she will don a yellow face mask and will employ many weapons including Wolverine-esque katars, and a bow and arrow.
Jennika’s mutated appearance was designed by current series artist Sophie Campbell. She shared concept art of Jennika on her personal Twitter page after the change was revealed:
Cat’s out of the bag now, so here’s some concept art I did two years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long) for mutated Jennika, the new Turtle!! @TomWaltz @thedisastrix @IDWPublishing pic.twitter.com/FtrJsK9Deb
— Sophie Campbell (@mooncalfe1) July 9, 2019
Interestingly, it appears that Jennika’s canon appearance is based on an original fan character created by Campbell for Secrets of the Ooze, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan comic created and drawn by Campbell. In a Tumblr post dating back 7 years, Campbell introduced Artemis, a female Turtle wielding a bow and clad in a yellow color scheme:
this is the first sketch for a TMNT fan-comic i’m cooking up called Secrets of the Ooze, which is a retelling of the second Turtles movie (a.k.a. the one with Vanilla Ice XD) with my own spin on the story and characters.
the biggest thing i’m adding is a 5th Turtle, Artemisia (Artie for short), named after Artemisia Gentileschi. she’s the shy worrywart Turtle and her weapon is the bow-and-arrow (i always felt like each Turtle’s weapon was a metaphor for their personality, so Artie’s had to be the same! she’s too trepidatious to get close to anyone, so she only strikes from afar!). my Turtles don’t have masks, they have natural face markings; they construct their weapons from junk and scraps; and there are some other new things i’m inventing that the Turtles discover about themselves and some new things in their origin.
Issue in High Demand
The introduction of a new, female team member has caused a surge in demand for the issue. Copies of the issue featuring Jennika’s first mutated appearance have been fetching high prices on the secondhand market. They’re selling on eBay for prices ranging from $32 to $135 depending on the cover. For the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, IDW announced a convention-exclusive printing of the issue featuring an exclusive variant cover. However, pre-orders for the cover quickly sold out. IDW took note of fan demand for the issue and announced that they would not be selling any variant copies of the issue due to safety concerns:
TMNT 95 #SDCC UPDATE: We put up 100 copies Tuesday for pre-order, sold out fast. We put the last 100 up Wed night. NO COPIES WILL BE ON SALE AT THE SHOW. Due to safety concerns, we can’t have a stampede on Wed for people to get copies. We appreciate your understanding! pic.twitter.com/OPzKuZVNW5
— IDW Publishing (@IDWPublishing) July 12, 2019