The path to personal redemption is never an easy road to travel, especially when the sins of your past return to haunt your present. That’s the lesson that Jennika is learning the hard way in the latest issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika II.
Before a hero can take a fall, they have to be built up so that they actually have somewhere to fall from, and often the higher the fall the better for dramatic purposes of storytelling. What Ronda Pattison does beautifully in this second issue of the arc is present a Jennika who is happy and feels good about the choices she is making. The happier she gets and the more it seems she has been able to forge a bond with young Antoni Rosetti Jr., whose father she murdered in the past, the more it makes the eventual fall more painful as the series newest big villain makes her move against Jennika.
The characterization of Jennika that is going on between this book and the main one is seamless, hitting on similar notes and personality traits while each doing their own thing. It showcases what a really well-connected and coordinated world the TMNT folks have created at IDW.
A lot of this is helped by the strong, colorful, and emotive art of Jodi Nishijima and Pattison. This world not only feels lived in, but each character is their own thing and you learn so much just by looking at them, not only from what they say or do. Then in comes Shawn Lee doing what he does best with the letters just elevating even the small moments like a pebble being skipped across a roof as a distraction.
There are two pretty big fight scenes within the issue and despite them being somewhat similar in what spurs them on and in the type of folks that Jennika is facing, both feel completely different and both so energetic. The second fight has a lot of Wolverine-like vibes, which makes sense given Jennika’s weapon choice, but in a really great way. It fully shows just how different Jennika’s style of fighting is from the other Turtles, because of how different her training and background is from them.
This was a longer issue page count wise but it never once felt like that. Every panel and page was needed and flowed so smoothly. A full Jennika ongoing with smaller arcs like this from either this creative team or a rotation of creative teams (like this mini has been) would be more than welcome. Jennika might still be newer as a Turtle compared to the others, but thanks to books like this she has fully cemented her place as part of the family and the franchise going forward.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika II #5 is now on sale at local comic shops and digitally through ComiXology.
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