This volume sees a writer/artist change from Tony Daniel to Layman and Fabok and it totally pays off. Tony Daniel's art was great but his stories left a sour taste in my mouth(go read some reviews for #1 and 2). Here, however the writing is great and will have you turning pages until it's all over.
Each of the 6 issues included is largely self-contained but there's a central thread through all of it that revolves around Penguin's assistant Ogilvy. Several villains show up, including Ivy, Clayface and more and it all feels very organic. The book never throws a villain at you just for the sake of it. Also, the events here take place concurrently with Scott Snyder's Batman #3 and largely revolve around it, though not in a bad way at all. It takes penguin's involvement and the return of the joker and spins out really interesting stories from them, unlike most tie-ins.
On that note, the back-up stories are actually great here! All the other back-up stories I've read in the new 52 have been forgettable distractions that just waist page-space, usually written and illustrated by a different team. Here, however, Layman actually writes the back-ups so they fit in very well with what's going on in the core issues and enrich the story rather than distract you from it. Andy Clarke does the art and his style matches Fabok's very well. So again, no distractions!
If there's one complaint I have, it's that I want more! :D I'm definitely intrigued to see where Layman is headed and will definitely pick up #4 when it comes out. It's not revolutionary by any means but it's a massive improvement and a great read. I couldn't put it down.
--You definitely do not need to read the first 2 volumes to understand what's going on here (and you probably shouldn't anyway). Nothing from those is discussed or continued here so don't hesitate to jump in with this volume. However, you should read Batman #3 first to understand some of the tie-ins (and because it's quite good).
--This series and the core Batman by Snyder should have each other's names! Snyder's stories always have lots of mystery, minimal action, slow build up etc. The 'Detective Comics' name fits his style perfectly, whereas Tony Daniel and now this book fit the more classic Batman style of zany villains, batman beating up thugs, and playboy Bruce Wayne. So if you want actual detective stories, Scott Snyder is your man.