Warning: contains spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #130!
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ controversial sister Venus De Milo is stepping out of the shadow of her controversial past and forging a fascinating new identity. After years of being ignored, Venus is re-emerging in IDW Publishing's continuity after a round of Frankenstein-inspired body horror has rendered her both punk frog and turtle.
Venus made her debut 25 years ago, as part of 1997’s short-lived live-action television series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. Though the series lasted only one season, the plot twist of a missing sister courted controversy, branded both sexist and tokenistic, especially since the team's one female member was named after a piece of art, not an artist like her brothers. Now, the most controversial Ninja Turtle is being re-imagined in a way that gives her a fair shake.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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Venus De Milo’s appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #130 by Sophie Campbell and Pablo Tunica (with Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz in consulting roles) moves as far as possible from Venus sharing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' origin, as it turns out she was formerly a mutated frog. Clyde the Punk Frog is so convinced of her resemblance to his former lover Bonnie that he is desperate for her to return with him. Donatello, on the other hand, knows that Venus and his brothers share a connection of their own and advocates for her to come with him, putting her into direct conflict with her motivations as a turtle-and-frog hybrid. Rejecting these binary paths, Venus chooses to go her own way.
This shocking re-imagining of her story goes one step further when it is revealed that a dash of dragon was added to the turtle-frog recipe. When the mad scientist Jasper Barlow infused Venus with dragon scales, he facilitated her powerful connection to the mystical astral plane and made her powerful beyond measure. This sort of tinkering with her physical makeup and her abilities makes it clear that she is a whole different kind of animal than her 'brothers,' both figuratively and literally. This is the level of intrigue that this much-maligned sister has always deserved. Venus De Milo has already demonstrated her new abilities to communicate telepathically and to channel great amounts of energy, returning to canon in the most stunning way possible.
Rather than a pale imitation of the existing Turtles, Venus De Milo has been sculpted from a zombie-cyborg template that offers limitless potential. As part of her re-appearance after all these years, Barlow introduced Venus as a horrifying homage to her namesake work of art, a sculpture by Alexandros of Antioch, before fully assembling her. Being of turtle and punk frog origin creates real tension since the Turtles and Frogs are at each other’s throats. Having a mystical path to follow also gives her endless room to grow. This change to make Venus De Milo so much more than a turtle has undoubtedly changed her place in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lore forever - allowing her to boldly leap into a new era.