Beginning in September 1996, DC published a Supergirl title written by Peter David. The 1996 Supergirl comic revamped the previous Matrix Supergirl by merging her with a human being, resulting in a new Supergirl. Many elements of the pre-Crisis Supergirl were incorporated in new ways. The woman that Matrix merges with has the same name as pre-Crisis Supergirl's secret identity, Linda Danvers. The series is set in the town of Leesburg, named after Danvers' pre-adoption surname. Linda's father is named Fred Danvers, the same as pre-Crisis Supergirl's adopted father. Furthermore, new versions of Dick Malverne and Comet appear as part of the supporting cast.
As the series begins, Matrix sacrifices herself to save a dying Linda Danvers, and their bodies, minds, and souls merge to become an "Earth-Born Angel", a being created when one being selflessly sacrifices him or herself to save another who is beyond saving. As the angel, Supergirl loses some of her powers, but gains others, including fiery angel wings and a "shunt" ability that allows her to teleport to any place she has been before.
The angelic aspect of Supergirl eventually falls from grace, and Linda and Matrix are separated into two beings. Linda retains some of Supergirl's super-strength and durability, and although she can no longer fly, she can leap an eighth of a mile. Linda acts as Supergirl for a while, attempting to locate her angelic aspect. After she is found in the Garden of Eden and freed from the Demon Mother, Matrix merges with a woman named Twilight and becomes the new Earth-born angel of fire. Twilight uses her healing powers to increase Linda's strength to Supergirl's level and restores her powers of flight and telekinesis. In Supergirl #75 (December 2002), detoured on her way to Earth, Kara Zor-El, the pre-Crisis Supergirl, arrives in post-Crisis Leesburg. After learning that Kara is destined to die, Linda travels to the pre-Crisis universe in her place, where she marries Superman and gives birth to a daughter named Ariella. With the stipulation that her daughter be the exception in the eradication of her alternate "life", Linda ultimately allows history to unfold as it should have, with Kara assuming her rightful but tragic place in the time-stream. However, finding no assurance that Ariella survived the restoration of post-Crisis history, a dejected Linda relinquishes the role of Supergirl, sends a farewell note to Superman, and leaves for points unknown.
Peter David's creator-owned series Fallen Angel, published by DC Comics, features a character, Lee, who is similar to Linda and explores the same themes as his Supergirl series. Prior to Fallen Angel moving to another company, Lee was written in a manner such that she could have been Linda.
Though David remained coy as to whether the two characters were one and the same during the DC run of the title, after it moved to IDW, David revealed Lee's origin, which clearly showed that Lee was not Danvers. However, Fallen Angel #14 introduced "Lin," who was said to be Lee's "predecessor" in Bete Noire. Lin had recently escaped Limbo, an apparent metaphor for what happened to Danvers after the cancellation of Supergirl. David wrote in his December 13, 2006 blog entry, "Any fans of my run on Supergirl—particularly those who are torqued because Linda Danvers was consigned to oblivion in the DCU--must, must, MUST pick up "Fallen Angel" #14 and #15 when they come out next year." However, since David could not explicitly claim that a character owned by DC was the same as the character he owned, he stated, "Can I say this is Linda Danvers? Of course I can't. However, it's pretty freaking obvious that it is."
According to an interview with Newsarama, the Matrix Supergirl is wiped from existence by the events depicted in the 2005 limited series Infinite Crisis, although Infinite Crisis writer Geoff Johns later stated that Danvers is not. The debate was finally settled in the 2008 mini-series Reign in Hell, where Shadowpact is shown trying to apprehend Linda Danvers before Linda is "recalled" to Hell.