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Temporary #1
By Damon Hurd and Rick Smith
Published by Origin Comics; 3.95 USD

Damon Hurd's latest work is a tongue-in-cheek look at the daily grind of the office through temp worker Envy Saint-Claire. Until now Hurd has produced a series of highly emotional books that eschewed humor for the sake of a dramatic and somber tone. Temporary is a departure from Hurd's serious side and is without a doubt the lightest book in tone and theme that he has done to this point. My initial expectation of was that it would be comparable to the film Office Space by being a cynical take on office culture. This book goes down an entirely different path; it's more subtle in its humor and doesn't rely on purely comedic aspects to drive the story.

Envy Saint-Claire reports for work at the Calvin C. Nelson HMO offices and through a series of mishaps ends up finding out that the job she reported for is not what she was expecting. Much of the story revolves around Envy's interactions with the other employees in the office and their odd actions throughout the day before letting the reader in on what is really going on in the story. Hurd does provide more than just a good story, and several elements suggest an underlying theme about management and real world office politics from both the antics occurring in the office and Envy's reaction. Hurd's script does an excellent job of keying into the the awkwardness of having a new boss, co-workers, and working environment every day and the emotionally draining experience that a temp worker goes through on a daily basis. Temporary benefits from tight scripting and good characterization, with Envy remaining somewhat aloof and detached in the story despite the craziness going on around her. I found the surreal ending to the book an intelligent and creative way to conclude the story as it added a depth to Envy's character which was not previously evident.

Rick Smith's pencils give the book a tone that reinforces the oddness of Hurd's story. Smith's contribution at first comes off as being simplistic with his sparse backgrounds and figures that sometimes appear grotesque in their depiction, but this emerges as a stylistic choice and in no way a detracting factor for the art. This was my first exposure to Smith's work and I immediately found that Smith's pencils help achieve the lighter tone that Hurd is going for. Smith's style combined with his excellent plotting and of the sequences shows and artistic sense of timing in the book by having the sequences never feeling like the story is being rushed.

While not as deep or emotional as My Uncle Jeff or A Sort of Homecoming, Temporary still shows Hurd as a first-rate writer who seems just as comfortable writing this type of story as he did in his more serious works. Equal parts comedy and commentary, anyone working in an office environment will appreciate the humor and relevance of this book to their own experiences. With Temporary, Hurd once again proves himself to be one of the finest writers outside of mainstream comics today and the potential is here for the makings of a great series. A fascinating character that readers will be able to identify with and an interesting premise make Temporary a book worth looking in to. Grade: 4/5.

-- Jeremy Clifft



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