The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around since the publication of the first comic in 1984. Since then, they’ve expanded to both the big and small screens. While we all know Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo as the core four, did you know there has been a fifth turtle in the past and present? Venus De Milo made her only appearance on screen in the only live-action TMNT television series, The Next Mutation, a colossal flop lasting only one season. The second fifth turtle in the current comics is named Jennika.
Let’s begin with Venus as she was introduced first.
The First Attempt Of A Female Turtle – Venus De Milo
Named after the statue Venus De Milo, Venus was initially intended to be a game changer in TMNT media. Except, she ended up being one of the most hated characters in the franchise. Her real name is Mei Pieh Chi, according to the Turtlepedia page for the character. Venus De Milo is her chosen Western name.
Her backstory is that she was also hit with the ooze when the mutagen splattered the turtles. When Splinter bought all the turtles together, he left Venus behind by accident. She somehow made it to Chinatown, where she was founded by a Shinobi magician named Chung I. He raised her like Splinter raised Leo, Raph, Donnie, and Mikey; as his own child.
The Next Mutation series makes it known early on that none of the turtles are related biologically. This was done with the possibility of a romantic relationship between Venus and one of the male turtles, with the suggestion being either Raph or Leo. Venus has a teal-coloured bandanna. After the show was cancelled, Venus’s adventures with the turtles continued in story form for a couple of years.
According to an interview dating back to 2007, Kevin Monroe, the director of the CGI TMNT film, allegedly was given specific instructions by co-creator of the turtles, Peter Laird, not to mention Venus, given how much she was despised. However, Kevin Eastman did like the character, though it is widely believed he and Laird didn’t.
Theory Why Venus Wasn’t Well Liked
One theory behind why she was hated so much is that the writers of The Next Mutation did not make the turtles biological siblings so they could slot in a potential romance. The series was one of the few times in Turtles media where they aren’t related. Most of the time, it’s not even bought up.
Though, there is an indirect reference to Venus in the 2012 series. She was also not named after someone of importance during the Italian Renaissance.
Return In Comics Form
Venus has started popping up in comic media recently with a new backstory. In an alternate future, Venus was the name of the time-travelling turtle, Lita. In the main IDW Publishing run, the name was used by the character Bonnie, a human-born mutant frog when she became a “patchwork turtle.”
The Yellow Bandannaed Turtle – Jennika
The second fifth turtle is Jennika, who has a rather interesting backstory. Unlike Venus, she [Jennika] was originally human and was in league with the Foot Clan as an assassin. She was also homeless at one point. She turned to a life of crime thanks to a man named Silas.
Jennika would end up in prison after being an accessory to murder. Unfortunately, prison is where she would encounter The Foot clan.
After the death of The Shredder, Jennika questioned Splinter’s place in the Foot as he didn’t kill for the sake of it. She saw his mercifulness as a show of weakness. She realised her ways were wrong after Splinter defeated her in combat and spared her life.
Jennika then swore her allegiance to Splinter and the turtles. However, Splinter believed that she did have a genuine change of heart, though he still had to discipline her for being disloyal. She would also develop feelings for Casey Jones, which would be reciprocated.
When Karai declared war upon Splinter, she vowed anyone loyal to him, including Jennika, would be in the firing line. Jenn would become a turtle when Donnie had Leo transfer some of his blood to her. She would keep her blue eyes and take on the yellow bandanna.
It’s also seen that she is a lot like Raph with her anger issues, and she has the tough girl act, but she’s gentle and kind.