COMIC REVIEW: JENNIKA #1
TMNT: Jennika #1
Story by Brahm Revel and Ronda Pattinson
Art by Brahm Revel and Jodi Nishijima
Published by IDW
Released February 26th, 2020
Trying to acclimate to life as a mutant, the newest Turtle Jennika embarks on a solo adventure that will force her to come to terms with both her troubled past and conflicted present. Not to mention a brand new villain! Brahm Revel (Guerrillas) returns to reveal more of Jennika’s backstory from his acclaimed TMNT Universe tale “What is Ninja?”!
It’s difficult as a writer to be given the job to expand an already beloved franchise with legions of fans poised to bite at every minor change or deviation. Some fan bases are more critical than others, but I’ve always found the TMNT fandom to be mostly optimistic and positive for the most part. Jennika is a character that received some criticism at first as a “Fifth Ninja Turtle” for the sake of change ala’ Venus de Milo (can I say that name here?). But with a well written and emotional story arc, she quickly became a fan favorite.
What sold me on her character is how she’s being established as her own mutant finding-her-place, and not simply “Girl Ninja Turtle”. So when it was announced in November that Jennika was getting her own 3 issue series, I was eager to read it. And here we are.
The story is essentially an issue long chase sequence with another mutant criminal, with Jennika pursuing using her best Ninja skills with occasional flashbacks to her human days. Which proves to be more interesting with a familiar face. We explore Jenni’s criminal background and prison experience. We get a lot of foreshadowing and Revel keeps his story moving at a brisk pace. Which fits the theme of the issue. With the TMNT themselves being broken in their main title, it’s certainly evolved into the “Jennika Show” in the past three issues. So, when reading Jennika #1, I had to often remind myself that I wasn’t reading issue #104, as this was her own miniseries.
The largest knock I have with this issue is the artwork. Having worked on comic books, it goes without saying that drawing consistently is difficult, but the artwork representing the story looks hastily drawn. I could understand if that was the artist’s intended style, but it just comes off as lackluster and far too “sketchy”. It feels as though Jennika isn’t being given the same care as a main Ninja Turtle adventure. As the issue as a whole looks unpolished. Yet the colors of Nishijima give the issue something positive to visually study.
With only 3 issues in this miniseries, I’m eager to see what story they tell. I feel like with Issue 1 in the books, this series may just serve as some background to add some additional layers to the Jennika character. Isolation and loneliness isn’t a new theme when it comes IDW’s Ninja Turtles, but Jennika’s human past sets her apart and could make for an interesting “side quest” of sorts. As of right now, I’m not completely on board…but they have my attention.
TMNT: Jennika #1 is now available wherever comics are sold!