Review – TMNT: Jennika #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer/Artist/Letterer: Brahm Revel
Release Date: 26th February 2020

Ever since she started gradually inching into the spotlight and evolving from Foot Clan henchman to full-fledged character in her own right, and long before she underwent her headline-grabbing transformation, Jennika was undoubtedly one of the most interesting parts of IDW’s ongoing TMNT series. And with so much going on in the main title now, it’s certainly welcome news that the publisher has opted to give her a solo series running alongside (although not interacting directly with) the ongoing book.

Cartoonist Brahm Revel does a solid job of capturing Jenny’s voice as she tries to fulfil her role as self-appointed protector of “Mutant Town” by tracking down a would-be escapee before he gets himself into too much trouble. Possessing marginally more experience of mutant life than the rest of the City’s inhabitants who were mutated against their will, she seeks to provide comfort and guidance while simultaneously working through her own myriad issues.

The punk rock origins of her defiant streak are given some much needed airtime, and it’s great to see a little more humanity in her character than the way she was initially presented. After all, these glimpses beneath the mask of discipline and focus were what made her gentle flirtation and gradually blossoming relationship with Cases Jones so enjoyable to read.

Revel also delivers a strong visual package, handling the pencils, inks and colours himself for the series. Delivering a markedly different style from the main series, he adopts a slightly scratchier, slightly more ragged approach than the usual tight work of Dialynas, Wachter, Campbell et al. He also uses a particularly striking palette throughout, packed with pinks, purples and pale blues, which really helps the book to stand out alongside the plethora of other TMNT books on the shelves.

With so many intertwining plot threads in the main ongoing series, it’s a sad fact the characters we love don’t always get the page space that we’d perhaps like, so it’s great to see so much effort being poured into Jennika’s past here – not to mention her mutation and the damage it has done to her blossoming relationship with Casey Jones. While a great many of these solo miniseries can feel superfluous or skippable, this feels like a vital addition to Jennika’s character development, and as such comes highly recommended.

Oh, and if that’s not enough, there’s also a back-up story from (I believe) first-time writer and long-time series colourist Ronda Pattison with artwork from Jodi Nishijima, which gives us some deeper insight into Jennika’s affinity with rats, including one rat in particular (and no, it’s not the one you think).

At the end of the day, if you’re even remotely interested in the newest Ninja Turtle on the block, then you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. Packed with emotional beats, intriguing character development and fluid action, this is a legitimately essential purchase for Jennika fans.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says
You can follow Ceej on Twitter

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