How Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Brought Back Venus, Its Most Controversial Character

Venus, the most controversial character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles history, is back. SPOILERS follow for recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issues, including today's FCBD Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2022. There is no more controversial character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lore than Venus, the female turtle introduced in the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation series. Here creation was a significant factor in forming the rift between Turtles creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. She became the scapegoat for The Next Mutation's failure, which is considered the final death knell for the Turtlemania era that was the peak of the franchise's popularity. But now Venus is back, but with a different origin than fans might have expected.

The stigma around Venus was bad enough that when Image Comics began publishing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1996, one of the only instructions they got from the creators was "no female turtles." The current IDW Publishing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series broke that curse, introducing the new turtle Jennika to a warm reception from fans. That success seems to have encouraged the creative team behind the longest-running Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series (including Sophie Campbell, Tom Waltz, and Eastman) to reclaim Venus' reputation.

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(Photo: Pablo Tunica, IDW Publishing)

And thus, Venus returned in the closing pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #127. This week's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #128 delves further into her origin. Venus isn't a turtle, or she didn't start that way. She was one of the Punk Frogs, a rival mutant group, who somehow ended up in the back alley clinic of the mysterious Jaspar Barlowe. Barlowe conducts surgical body modifications former humans mutated against their will. Barlowe cut the frog up, sewed her back together, and renamed her Venus. He also grafted an artificial shell to her body, which contains one of the scales of a Dragon God that came to New York City (it's a long story), which is how she survived the procedure. The scale also gives her unique psychic power.

That story arc continues, but Venus also appears in FCBD Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2022. The bulk of the free comic is dedicated to Sophie Campbell paying homage to Eastman and Peter Laird by recreating the story from their original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. But it ends with Venus showing up, the Rat King's visage hovering behind her, wondering what is happening. The moment suggests that Venus has a significant role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' upcoming "Armageddon Game" event story.

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