Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.
Jennika, or Jenny for short, is the ninja chūnin of Splinter's Foot Clan, a dear friend to the Turtles and a love interest to Casey Jones. Originally human, she is now a mutant turtle after her life was saved by an emergency transfusion of mutagenic blood donated by Leonardo.
Jennika was a young Foot Assassin, and a loyalist to the Foot Clan rather than to The Shredder. As a young girl, she was driven from her home when she found her father beating her mother, and lived on the streets afterwards. She took up with a young man who pulled her into a life of petty robbery, which ultimately led to her imprisonment as an accessory to murder.
Her first encounter with the Foot took place in prison, where an imprisoned Foot ninja defended her from other convicts and became her fast friend. The woman trained Jennika in secret as they plotted to escape the prison, but Jennika's friend was killed by another inmate just as they had gained their freedom. She found her way to the Foot and became one of their number, using her newfound skills at killing on the woman who had murdered her friend.
After Shredder's death, she distrusted the new leader following his death and questioned why this "rat" was fit to lead. She was convinced that he was weakening the Foot Clan with his unwillingness to kill without hesitation, and saw his merciful actions as signs of cowardice and weakness, believing that quick and deadly action was necessary to remain supreme.
As a result, she secretly associated herself with Darius Dun and the Street Phantoms. When the Phantoms attacked the Foot Clan, Jennika attempted to kill Splinter in single combat, but was defeated quickly.
After Splinter humbled her, she began to realize the error of her ways, and pledged her service to the Foot's new leader and his sons. Splinter believed in her change of heart, though he still had to penalize her for her act of disloyalty. After being impressed by her faithful service, he assigned her to guard the tomb of the Shredder, which she did faithfully until she was attacked by Kitsune and Alopex.
During the Triceraton invasion, it was confirmed that Splinter had selected her as his new chunin. However, she was still very impulsive and required his guidance. She was also deeply conflicted about Splinter's plans to kill Commander Zom, eventually arranging for the Turtles' escape from the Foot Clan headquarters in order to stop him. She was not penalized for her disobedience after the invasion ended, and was instead sent out by Splinter to protect Casey Jones. The two eventually began to enjoy each other's company and develop feelings for one another as time went on.
After the Turtles brought a number of orphaned children to the Foot Clan, Jennika helped care for them. When Karai returned from Japan, Splinter was willing to cede leadership of the Foot to her were it not for her insistence that the children be trained as soldiers. Jennika came to Splinter's aid as negotiations failed and Karai was denied the Gauntlet. With her attempt to reclaim leadership of the Foot having failed, Karai declared that war would be coming to Splinter and those loyal to him.
A short while later Karai reached out to Jennika for a truce. Karai attempted to sway the chunin's loyalties away from Splinter, but Jennika refused. Having fully expected this possibility, Karai stabbed her as the first act in her war to retake the Foot from Splinter.
In a desperate attempt to save her life, the Clan Hamato and their allies took her to Harold Lilja's laboratory. There, Harold, Libby, and Lindsey attempted to use the Ooze to heal her, as it had done for John O'Neil. However, the vial of ooze was shattered during a firefight when the Earth Protection Force and Metalhead attacked. Seeing no other option and with time running out, Donatello had Leonardo transfer his blood to her to aid her recovery. This had the optimal effect, but also mutated her into a turtle.
Waking up as her mutation completed, Jennika was initially confused about the changes she had undergone. Donatello confirmed what had happened and explained what was going on as they made their way to Brooklyn Bridge's home for shelter, escorted by the Purple Dragons. After repelling an attack from Karai's assassins there, Jennika reconciled with Casey, who put aside his initial lukewarm reaction to her change once he saw her saving her friends.
Powers and abilities
- Ninjutsu: Jennika is well-versed in the art of ninjutsu, including not only hand-to-hand and armed combat, but stealth, espionage, escape, and more. Unlike the other Turtles, she was trained specifically for the purpose of assassination, and has taken lives quite brutally on more than one occasion.
- Athleticism: Although she likely is not as well-versed in this as the other turtles, she is incredibly nimble and boasts athletic strengths far beyond even most trained athletes.
- Childcare: Jennika was tasked with the supervising and care of the Children of Saint Robert's Orphanage more than any other member of the Foot Clan or Clan Hamato, that was seen.
- Pedagogy: Jennika taught basic martial arts techniques to these orphans.
- Mutant turtle physiology: As a mutant turtle, Jennika has the advantages (and potential disadvantages) with being a bipedal turtle of humanoid size and stature. Most prominent, is her shell, a natural armor comprised of the carapace and plastron. It is unknown what other specific enhancements she has at this time.
Weapons and equipment
- Foot Assassin uniform: As a Foot Assassin, Jennika wore a specific uniform, including striped sleeves and a menacing red mask.
- Claws: As a Foot Assassin, her clawed weapon was a glove with bladed fingers, sort of a combination of the tekkō-kagi with "neko-te", and remniscent of Freddy Krueger's trademark weapon, but with claws more in length of a tantō. Post-mutation, she wields traditional tekkō-kagi the likes of which were utilized by Oroku Saki, only with four blades.
- Katana: Outside of her Foot Assassin garb, Jennika normally carried and wielded a single katana.
- Bandana: Post-mutation, Jennika takes up wearing a yellow eyemask bandana, similar to the other turtles.
- Joint wraps
- Not counting cameos from other continuities or forms who appeared only in dreams, Jennika is the sixth mutant turtle character introduced in the IDW continuity, after the four Clan Hamato brothers themselves and the late Slash. She is also the first IDW mutant turtle who is female.
- Jennika is one of the few mutant turtles in any TMNT continuity who is female. Past examples have included April O'Neil in the Archie continuity (only temporarily mutated), and Mei Pieh Chi a.k.a. Venus de Milo in Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.
- Jennika's mutant form was designed by Sophie Campbell. Jennika's bandana is yellow, similar to Campbell's fan character Artemisia, but the color was requested by Tom Waltz to match her hair color, and he was unaware of Artemisia—the color synchronicity was purely incidental.
- The idea of Jennika becoming a mutant turtle was tossed around for three years before being finalised.
- In issue #101, Jennika comments that Raphael is like her "horrible kid brother." The topic of Jenny's age relative to the other four Turtles is a complicated one, as on one hand their physical turtle bodies are only a few years old, but they are reincarnated humans who were born centuries before in feudal Japan. But since the Hamato Sons died as teenagers and reincarnated socially still teenagers, this may imply that Jenny's age is chronologically older than the social age of at least Raph and his socially younger brothers Donatello and Michelangelo. (Leonardo is socially older than Raph, which would make his social age unclear in relation to Jenny.)