I'm glad to see my suggestion of changing the range to Close has some proponents....but I stand by my opinion that it doesn't really need to be fixed at all.
Colour spray is a very nice spell, after all. Should we change this one as well?
As far as second level goes, ever since 1e I've always looked at it as the "utility" level. This is where you find: invisibility, knock, alter self, wizard (arcane) lock, web, see invisibility, daylight/darkness, blur and mirror image, levitate, etc. This spell level isn't about direct damage. I don't know if that was the original intent, but it certainly has impressed itself upon me that way.
The wizard (and sorceror) recieves a huge jump in direct damage ability with 3rd level spells. Need every level be concerned with direct damage?
I say leave MM at first level where it belongs. But if you must
change it, drop the range to Close....any other option severly weakens it compared to Colour Spray.
Here's my two copper for the pot.