Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a pretty familiar supporting cast of characters. Of course, we all know the four brothers – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael – but just as well we know Splinter, their rat father-figure, Casey Jones, the hockey masked best friend, and April O’Neil, the reporter hottie in the yellow jumpsuit.
However, in 1997 when Fox Kids launched the live-action Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, it was felt that things should be shaken up. Meant to be a continuation of the movie franchise, strangely enough nowhere to be found were Casey or April. In their place, we got this:
This abomination new character was Venus de Milo, adding the much-needed sex appeal to a show lacking the classic April O’Neil. And seriously, if you think that this thing is sexier than April, you have issues. And you need to stay away from Muppets.
It turns out that when the mutagen canister that created Daredevil hit the sewers, it mutated a rat and FIVE turtles, rather than the previously believed four. When Splinter gathered the turtles into a coffee can, he left the little girl turtle behind, who was eventually found by a human man named I Chung and taken to China. Chung and Splinter conversed across dreams and revealed their turtles to each other, but both decided it would be best to keep Venus a secret from the other turtles until the right time. And by “right time”, I mean until a live-action show was produced that thought leaving out April O’Neil was a good idea.
Eventually, I Chung was killed and Venus was sent to New York just in time for the show to start. Now here was a problem. The four turtles had always been referred to as brothers, and a similar origin for Venus would therefore make her their sister. But why add a girl turtle in if you’re not going to have the awkward romance of live action martial arts shows of the time? Remember, Tommy banged two separate Pink Rangers.
So the turtles were not actually brothers, and Venus was free to bang any and all of them if she so desired. This didn’t sit well with TMNT creator Peter Laird, who had always emphasized that the four were the last of their kind. With Venus available for mating, they could seemingly populate with tons of spawn. Sure, they’d have a weird kind of inbreeding issue, but don’t think about that.
Next Mutation ended after one season, and Venus only stuck around briefly after that with stories including her being posted on the official TMNT website. Then, suddenly, she was gone. All mention of her was erased when Laird bought out fellow co-creator Kevin Eastman’s share of the franchise and it was made as if she had never existed.
To this day, she remains one of the most hated (or missed, depending on the fan) aspects of the franchise. Personally, I find her to be the second most disturbing aspect of TMNT lore, second only to the bloody murders of the Mighty Mutanimals (Mondo Gecko, Leatherhead, Wingnut & Screwloose, Jagwar, Dreadmon and Man Ray). And in Archie Comics, no less.