Sokka is one of the best-developed characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender. On a surface level, The Legend of Korra's Bolin is often compared to Sokka because of his laid-back personality and quirky humor, but in more substantial ways, Mako is more comparable to Sokka. Both characters are older brothers caring for siblings in a rough environment, and they didn't see the big, wide world until they joined team avatar.
Both Sokka and Mako had substantial dating lives, and they both have talents for leadership and investigation. But which of them is the better supporting character?
Mako's Strengths As Best Boy
Republic City in Mako's time may have been more prosperous than the Southern Water Tribe in Sokka's time, but that doesn't mean that Mako had it easy. Mako and Bolin lost their parents as young boys and grew up on the city's mean streets. Sokka and Katara had their father Hakoda and their grandmother, but Mako had no such help, and he took it upon himself to raise both himself and Bolin. That enormous responsibility was taxing, but Mako pulled it off and gained some serious street smarts in the process.
Mako is a natural leader, a highly effective pro-bending team captain and a support strategist for Korra's team during their adventures together. Mako became a fine police officer who impressed Lin Beifong (so long as he didn't go too wild). He was the one who picked up on Varrick's schemes, and though he was doubted at first, Mako made the bust of the century. Mako later became Prince Wu's bodyguard, keeping his charge safe from Kuvira's Earth Empire and other foes. Under anyone else's protection, Prince Wu would have been in big trouble.
Sokka's Strengths as Best Boy
In the original series, fans often compare whether Sokka or Prince Zuko for Best Boy. Both characters underwent serious personal growth, but Sokka has more overlap with Mako than Zuko in terms of abilities so it's more interesting to compare the two. Like Mako, Sokka started off with little except his wits and his younger sibling, and he put on a brave face and made the most of it. Sokka and Katara endured the loss of their mother as kids, and when they met Avatar Aang, Sokka reluctantly came along to keep Katara safe.
During the journey to the Northern Water Tribe, Sokka's eyes were opened to the vast world and many new people, such as Suki and the Kyoshi warriors. Sokka quickly abandoned his misogynist views and saw Suki as a trusted and respectable fellow warrior. In the Northern Water Tribe, Sokka impressed princess Yue and found the strength to say goodbye to her when she gave her life for the moon spirit's sake. Sokka also developed a loving and deep relationship with Suki, which personally enriched them both and symbolized how they were expanding their worldviews together.
Sokka is a thinker above all, and time and again, he uses any and all resources on hand to defeat the Fire Nation, from inventing hot air balloons and stink bombs to working submarines and even a sword made from a meteorite. It was also Sokka who figured out the eclipse and planned an entire invasion around it. Katara and Aang easily admitted that Sokka is the "idea man" of their group.
Mako's Weaknesses As Best Boy
Mako lacks charisma, to put it bluntly. He is an effective leader by the book, but his demanding, impatient personality often fails to impress others, and he can't easily win the trust of other people without his badge. He also jumps to conclusions and acts recklessly, as a true Firebender, and he and Korra utterly flubbed their ill-advised relationship. Mako also struggled to coordinate the evacuation of Republic City when Kuvira's army was en route; his dry, complex directions only confused people. Prince Wu had to step in and use his charisma and empathy to fix the situation.
Sokka's Weaknesses As Best Boy
Sokka's main weakness, besides his lack of bending, is his attitude that everything is either scary, dangerous or irrelevant. Sokka learned to overcome this, but at first, he had a cautious and conservative view that denied him many opportunities and allies simply because he was so wary of everything around him. If everyone always listened to Sokka, hardly anything would get done, and it was up to Aang and Katara to boldly charge ahead and become heroes, with a reluctant Sokka tagging along.
Sokka Vs. Mako - Who Is Avatar's Best Boy?
Sokka and Mako aren't terribly different. They might have gotten along if they ever met, and they both have their merits. As a whole, though, Sokka is the more compelling character, mainly because he has much more development. He was a cautious and skeptical person at first, but he explored the big wide world, found love twice, came to believe in spirits and destiny and became a war hero.
Mako, by contrast, learned nothing from his failed relationships and was the same dry, by-the-book type he was at the series' beginning and ending. Sokka blossomed while Mako remained set in stone, therefore, Sokka should claim the title of Avatar's Best Boy.